Montana moves to reveal corporate campaign spending
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana has given up on barring corporations from the political arena and is instead attempting to expose every penny spent by them.
State leaders began crafting the expansive new election law in 2012, after the U.S. Supreme Court cited its earlier Citizens United decision granting free-speech rights to corporations as the basis to throw out a century-old Montana law that limited corporate election spending.
State Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl said Wednesday the new law enacted earlier this year allows corporations and committees to speak in elections.
But now they also have to say how much they’re spending, what it’s being spend on, and where the money came from.
Motl’s office says Montana is one of the first states to require the level of disclosure.
Supreme Court ruling means 41K Montanans to keep subsidies
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — More than 41,000 Montana residents who signed up for health insurance through the U.S. government’s online exchange will keep the tax subsidies that lower the cost of their premiums.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the subsidies for customers in Montana and 33 other states that do not operate their own exchanges under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The Supreme Court disagreed with plaintiffs in a lawsuit that argued the Affordable Care Act’s language limited subsidies to people who sign up through exchanges established by the states.
Of the 49,140 Montana residents who enrolled through the federal online marketplace, 85 percent receive tax credits that average $230 per month.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that without those credits, their premiums would have risen nearly 200 percent on average.
Salish, Kootenai tribes file over 2,800 water rights claims
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have filed more than 2,800 water-rights claims both on and off the Flathead reservation.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation accepted the claims Thursday.
The claims were filed as placeholders while the state and CSKT wait for Congress to ratify a negotiated water compact. State law requires CSKT to file by July 1 or forfeit their right to do so.
Tribal attorney John Carter said Thursday they will file for a stay on the claims until a final decision is made on the compact. The claims preserve CSKT’s water rights should the compact fail to gain approval.
State attorneys say it could be years before the settlement, which was approved by the Montana legislature this year, gains its final approvals.
Texas family rescued in southwestern Montana mountains
(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Search and rescue teams rescued a family of 10 from Lefors, Texas, after they got lost during a hike in the rugged mountains of southwestern Montana.
Beaverhead County Sheriff Franklin Kluesner tells The Montana Standard that two boys, ages 13 and 14, hiked several miles for help on June 19, two days after the family got lost in the mountains near Wisdom. They were out of food and water by the 18th and resorted to drinking stream water.
Kluesner says a 41-year-old man and the boys caught frogs, cooked and ate them on morning of the 19th and then headed for help. The man collapsed along the way. A rancher spotted the boys and searchers found the man and then his wife and six other children.
Officials say the entire family was sick from drinking unsafe water.
Ronan man pleads guilty in cattle-selling scheme
(Information in the following story is from: KERR-AM, http://www.750kerr.com/)
POLSON, Mont. (AP) — A 29-year-old Ronan man has pleaded guilty to deceptive practices for selling non-existent cattle to two buyers for over $180,000.
KERR-AM reports Andrew Jackson entered his plea Thursday in District Court in Polson. Under the plea agreement, the state is recommending a suspended sentence to the Department of Corrections so Jackson can pay restitution.
Prosecutors said Jackson made the transactions in March and May of 2013, and the buyers notified Lake County authorities in December 2013 that they had not received the cattle.
Court records say Jackson acknowledged he didn’t have any cattle for sale.
Jackson was convicted in 2013 for writing a bad check and was given a three-year deferred sentence that required him to pay $18,000 in restitution.
District Judge Kim Christopher scheduled Jackson’s sentencing for July 30.
70-year-old man killed in Big Horn County crash
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 70-year-old man was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 in Big Horn County.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the crash happened just before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday south of Crow Agency on the Crow Indian Reservation.
Coroner Terry Bullis tells The Billings Gazette the victim was Albert Chavez Jr. of Hardin.
Two other men in the vehicle survived.
The patrol says the investigation of the crash has been turned over to Bureau of Indian Affairs police.
Fatal shooting reported near Hot Springs
(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)
HOT SPRINGS, Mont. (AP) — Sanders County officials are investigating an apparently accidental fatal shooting near Hot Springs.
Sheriff Tom Rummel told the Missoulian the shooting was reported at 9 p.m. Wednesday along Little Bitterroot Road, a gravel road that runs between Hot Springs and Ronan.
He declined to release the victim’s name, age or gender until the investigation is complete.
Alaska fugitive, Marion man arrested in truck theft
(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — An Alaska fugitive suspected in a vehicle theft in northwestern Montana gave law enforcement officers the driver’s license of a man who has been missing since February.
The Daily Inter Lake reports 43-year-old Jeffrey Schubauer, who is wanted in the Anchorage, Alaska, area for violating probation, faces felony theft charges in Flathead County. Eighteen-year-old Marion resident Douglas Campbell has also been charged.
Both men have been accused of stealing a concrete company truck on June 21. An employee spotted the truck at a convenience store and called police.
Schubauer gave deputies a driver’s license belonging to 23-year-old Scott Shirk of Marion, who was last seen in February. Police eventually identified Schubauer.
Schubauer and Campbell are scheduled to be arraigned on July 9.
Sheriff Chuck Curry says officers are still trying to determine what happened to Shirk.
Man injured in Bozeman meth lab explosion
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A man suffered chemical burns and other injuries in the explosion of a methamphetamine lab at an apartment attached to a Bozeman motel.
Police Capt. Jim Veltkamp says the victim called 911 at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday to report the explosion. Officers say the man had injuries to his torso and arms and chemical burns on his face. Veltkamp says the man was taken to a hospital outside of Bozeman for treatment of his injuries, which he did not believe were life-threatening.
The meth lab team from the Missouri River Drug Task Force responded and processed what remained of the lab.
The drug task force is investigating. No charges have yet been filed.