AP-MT--Montana News Digest, MT
Montana at 6 p.m.
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MONTANA TOBACCO TAX INITIATIVE
HELENA — A tobacco industry-funded group wants to change the wording of a citizen’s ballot initiative that would significantly raise Montana’s tobacco taxes, a legal challenge that is part of the group’s expensive effort to defeat the measure when it goes to voters in November. The lawsuit filed with the Montana Supreme Court Monday by Montanans Against Tax Hikes takes issue with specific phrasing contained in the 135-word ballot statement, saying the language is incorrect, will cause confusion and prevent voters from casting an informed ballot. By Matt Volz. SENT: 910 words, photos.
BILLINGS — Conservationists claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that a Trump administration committee reviewing royalties paid by companies on fossil fuels extracted from public lands is stacked with industry supporters who conduct some meetings in secret. The Western Organization of Resource Councils asked a federal judge in Montana to disband the U.S. Interior Department’s Royalty Policy Committee and strike down its recommendations. By Matthew Brown. SENT: 560 words, photo.
HILL COUNTY ATTORNEY
HAVRE — A north-central Montana judge fined the former Hill County attorney $1,500 and ordered her to serve six days on house arrest for contempt of court. Jessica Cole-Hodgkinson appeared before Justice of the Peace Audrey Barger on Tuesday to explain why she didn’t show up in Justice Court or find a substitute to handle three cases that Deputy County Attorney Karen Alley could not prosecute because she had conflicts as a former defense attorney. SENT: 300 words.
— MONTANA GOVERNOR-NEW HAMPSHIRE — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has added New Hampshire to his schedule of trips to early-voting states this month as he explores a possible 2020 presidential bid.
— WILDFIRE COMPANY-EMBEZZLEMENT — A Red Lodge woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1.4 million from a wildfire suppression company where she worked.
— HAVRE-ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE — A 35-year-old Box Elder man is charged with trying to kill another man east of Havre by jumping on his chest with his knees and kneeling on his throat.
— MISSOULA SHOOTING-PLEA — A man who pepper-sprayed a Missoula convenience store employee and a customer during a March armed robbery in which both victims were shot pleaded guilty.
— MEDICAL MARIJUANA-BILLINGS — The state health department says it won’t issue new medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Billings after the city passed an ordinance that says licensed businesses must obey federal law.
— VETERANS CEMETERY-BOZEMAN — Groundwork is expected to begin this summer on a veterans cemetery within Bozeman’s Sunset Hills Cemetery.
— KALISPELL STABBING DEATH — Police have arrested a man in connection with a stabbing death in northwestern Montana.
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