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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

May 24, 2019

Montana at 6 p.m.

The desk can be reached at 406-442-7440 or 303-825-0123. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

TOP STORIES:

ENDANGERED WOLVES-ILLEGAL KILLINGS

RALEIGH, N.C. _ Illegal killings and longstanding political resistance have undercut the return of two species of endangered wolves to the wild, frustrating government efforts that already cost more than $80 million but have failed to meet recovery targets. The number of red wolves roaming the forests of North Carolina has plunged to fewer than three dozen in recent years — the most precarious position of any U.S. wolf species. By Jonathan Drew, Susan Montoya Bryan and Matthew Brown. SENT: 1,160 words, photos.

LEGISLATIVE STUDIES

HELENA _ Montana lawmakers have chosen a study of state and local tax policy as their top priority during the 18 months before the 2021 legislative session. The Legislature passed 27 joint resolutions for interim legislative studies and lawmakers were asked to rank them in order of importance. The tax policy review received the highest ranking by far among the 88 lawmakers who returned surveys. Sixty-two legislators did not respond. Legislative staffers say they usually receive 100 to 110 responses. By Amy Beth Hanson. SENT: 560 words.

SOLAR-MONTANA PSC

BILLINGS _ Renewable energy activists urged Montana regulators on Thursday to reject a utility’s request to add a charge for homeowners who generate surplus electricity from their own solar panels. Over the past two decades, about 2,300 NorthWestern Energy customers in Montana installed their own solar panels. When those panels generate more electricity than a customer uses, the surplus power is fed into the electric grid and earns the customer a credit on their bill in a process known as net-metering. By Matthew Brown. SENT: 650 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

_ MONTANA-TRIBES _ Montana will install a permanent monument on the state Capitol grounds recognizing Native American contributions to the state and nation.

_ MONTANA-BORDER CROSSINGS _ Federal officials say they’re reducing the hours that three U.S.-Canada border crossings in Montana are open each day.

_ TINY HOMES-HOMELESSNESS _ A Montana organization has been awarded a $500,000 contract to develop a village of 200-square-foot (18.5-sqare-meter) homes for people who are homeless.

_ BBBS MISSOULA CLOSURE _ Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula is closing after 49 years because it’s been unable to overcome the loss of $120,000 in state, federal and private grant funding over the last two years.

_ MONTANA SHERIFF-CAMPAIGN _ An investigation into last year’s Fergus County sheriff’s election has found the winner and current sheriff campaigned while on duty.

_ JAIL CLOSED-STAFFING PROBLEMS _ Officials are looking for solutions to reopen the only jail in a western Montana county that closed earlier this year after losing its staff.

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