Lawsuit over accommodations for disabled inmates settled
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state Department of Corrections and the ACLU of Montana have reached a settlement in a lawsuit over compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Montana State Prison.
The Department of Corrections has agreed to provide reasonable accommodations for inmates with physical disabilities to participate in treatment and vocational programs that help prepare inmates to be released from prison.
The state also agreed that prisoners with disabilities will not be disciplined solely for behavior that is due to their mental illness or physical disability.
ADA compliance was the final issue to be settled in a 1994 lawsuit filed over prison conditions following riots at the prison.
The proposed settlement was filed on Feb. 15 and must be approved by a judge and then the inmates.
The Latest: GOP field for Montana US House race narrows to 6
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Republican officials say the GOP’s field of prospective candidates for the U.S. House race has narrowed to six.
The GOP said in a statement Thursday that real-estate investor Drew Turiano has dropped out of the running for the party nomination.
That leaves state Sen. Ed Buttrey, businessman Greg Gianforte, state Rep. Carl Glimm, former state Sen. Ken Miller, contractor Dean Rehbein and former state Sen. Ed Walker.
Republican delegates will gather in Helena on Monday to choose their candidate for the May 25 election. Democrats will meet on Sunday, and the Libertarian Party plans to select its nominee by Monday.
Montana teacher who raped student seeks parole to California
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 57-year-old Montana teacher serving a 10-year prison sentence in a notorious student rape case could be paroled soon.
The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole recently accepted Stacey Dean Rambold’s plan to be paroled to California. The plan still must be accepted by California.
Montana Board of Pardons and Parole Executive Director Kristy Cobban tells The Billings Gazette that if California declines, Rambold must submit a new parole plan.
Rambold initially was sentenced to just one month in prison by a state judge who suggested that the 14-year-old victim, who committed suicide during the case, shared blame for her rape. The case drew widespread outrage. The judge later retired, and Rambold was resentenced in 2014.
The victim’s mother says Rambold hasn’t spent enough time in prison.
Zinke sworn in at Interior; Montana’s first cabinet member
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke has been sworn in as Secretary of Interior, making him the first person from the Treasure State to serve in a White House cabinet.
The 55-year-old former Navy Seal from Whitefish resigned his seat as Montana’s only member of the House following Wednesday’s 68-31 confirmation vote in the Senate, setting up a special election.
Zinke was an early supporter of Republican President Donald Trump and shares the new administration’s goal of increased domestic energy production.
He says as Interior Secretary he’ll fight the sale or transfer of keep public lands. Democrats have sought to portray Zinke as a supporter of public land transfers.
Montana Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester supported Zinke’s confirmation. Zinke had been considering a 2018 run against Tester, a two-term Democrat.
Victims of head-on crash near Big Sandy identified
HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — Officials in Chouteau County have released the names of two women who died in a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 87 near Big Sandy.
Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Hale says 43-year-old Rebecca Nicholson of Havre and 61-year-old Sharon Rowe of Helena died in the crash Tuesday afternoon.
The Montana Highway Patrol says Rowe’s southbound vehicle drifted into the northbound lane, causing the collision. A woman who was a passenger in Nicholson’s vehicle was injured.
Man rescued after getting pickup stuck in snow arrested
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who spent the night in his pickup truck after getting stuck in the snow in the Pioneer Mountains was found by a search and rescue team and then arrested on suspicion of violating the terms of his probation by driving.
State records show 66-year-old Randy Packard of Melrose is on probation for a felony DUI that occurred in April 2014.
Beaverhead County Sheriff Franklin Kluesner tells The Montana Standard that Packard was reported missing Tuesday morning. A search and rescue team soon found Packard and his dogs in the Pioneer Mountains southwest of Melrose and they were returned to his house.
Packard was then cited for driving without a license and booked into jail, where he remained Thursday.