The Latest: Montana officials seek stay on campaign limits
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl clarified the campaign contribution limits for political action committees.
While limits on individual contributions will rise modestly, the cap on political action committees will spike dramatically, he said, particularly in gubernatorial campaigns.
PACs can now contribute as much as $10,610 per election cycle instead of the $1,320 that had been in place earlier this week for contested races. PAC limits will also rise to $2,650 for other statewide offices, up from $640. The limit goes up to $800 for the state Senate and $400 for the House — instead of the previous $340 limit for both chambers.
“It’s a pretty good jump,” Motl said. “But at least there are still limits that everybody can see and deal with.”
Individuals can now contribute as much as $1,990 to gubernatorial candidates and up to $990 for other statewide contests per election cycle, which includes primary and general elections.
Woman sentenced for breaking baby’s leg at day care
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A former Gallatin County day care provider who admitted to breaking the leg of an infant she was watching has been given a three-year deferred sentence.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports Erin Renee Cooper pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal endangerment as part of a plea deal that dropped her initial charge of felony assault on a minor.
Cooper had admitted she “used too much pressure” while changing the six-month-old boy’s diaper in January 2015.
The boy’s mother says Cooper told her she heard a popping sound during the incident. The baby was taken to a hospital, where doctors determined his right femur was fractured.
Cooper apologized to the boy’s family in court Wednesday, saying she loved the child.
Both parents agreed they didn’t believe Cooper intentionally hurt their son.
21-year-old man stabbed to death in Lame Deer
LAME DEER, Mont. (AP) — Federal authorities are investigating the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old man near Lame Deer.
The Billings Gazette reports that Northern Cheyenne Tribal President Llevando Fisher says the stabbing happened early Wednesday. Authorities have not yet identified the victim, and it’s unclear if a suspect is in custody.
Colstrip Schools Superintendent Bob Lewandowski says he called police Wednesday afternoon and was told that students wouldn’t be in danger and that it was an isolated incident.
The FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have opened investigations into the incident.
Businesses ask Supreme Court to reinstate exempt well rule
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Real estate businesses, building contractors and well drillers are asking the Montana Supreme Court to reinstate regulations that allowed residential subdivisions to drill multiple water wells without first obtaining permits.
Attorneys for the groups argued Wednesday that the justices should overturn a judge’s 2014 order that the regulations violated the intent of state law. The regulations said wells that draw less than 35 gallons of water per minute are exempt from permit requirements, even if they draw from the same source and are for the same purpose, unless they are physically connected to one another.
Plaintiffs led by the Clark Fork Coalition say the rule created a loophole that allowed subdivisions and other large users to avoid permitting requirements and deplete millions of gallons of water by drilling individual, unconnected wells for their developments.
New horned dinosaur species discovered in Montana by amateur
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A novice fossil collector’s find in a remote Montana badlands more than a decade ago has emerged as a new kind of spectacularly-horned dinosaur.
Researchers at the Canadian Museum of Nature announced Wednesday the bones represent a previously-unknown species of dinosaur that lived 76 million years ago.
Canadian Museum paleontologist Jordan Mallon says Judith is closely-related to the well-known triceratops. Both had horned faces and elaborate head frills.
Mallon says Judith was a plant-eater, approximately 15-feet long and weighing up to four tons.
He says the bones show evidence of an infection that left Judith hobbled and vulnerable to predators.
Montana man pleads no contest to neighbor’s shooting death
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man has pleaded no contest to negligent homicide in the October 2013 shooting of his neighbor in an ongoing land access dispute in a rural subdivision near the Rocky Mountain Front southwest of Augusta.
District Judge DeeAnn Cooney followed the plea agreement Wednesday and gave Joseph Campbell a 20-year suspended prison sentence during which time he can’t travel within 10 miles of the Falls Creek Subdivision where Timothy Newman was killed. Campbell may not possess or handle any firearms or contact Newman’s family or any of the prosecution witnesses.
Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour said the agreement holds Campbell accountable and resolves the conflict in the subdivision, where she said Campbell had threatened residents for years.
Jurors were unable to reach a verdict after Campbell’s deliberate homicide trial, which ended in March.
Last month, Campbell settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Newman’s wife.