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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

January 18, 2019

Montana at 1:10 p.m.

The desk can be reached at 406-442-7440. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

EXCHANGE-LIQUOR LICENSES

HELENA, Mont. _ Montana would switch permanently to an auction system to award liquor licenses under a bill proposed Thursday. The state used to hold lotteries for liquor licenses but during a special session in November 2017 called to fix a revenue shortage, lawmakers changed to a competitive bidding process. That way of distributing licenses was meant to increase money for the state’s coffers. By Holly K. Michels, Lee Newspapers. SENT: 450 words.

EXCHANGE-EDUCATION FUNDING

HELENA, Mont. _ Republicans gathered Thursday in support of a bill they said would bring opportunities to Montana by revising school funding and making inflationary adjustments. Democrats said the bill provided the “bare minimum” and ignored students with special needs and said they have a much more comprehensive package, the Great Falls Tribune reported . By Phil Drake, Great Falls Tribune. SENT: 630 words.

IN BRIEF:

MONTANA-POWER GENERATION _ Renewable energy and fossil fuel advocates are making their case to Montana regulators as the state’s largest electricity supplier looks to build new power generation facilities.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE _ Montana’s unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in December with the state adding about 1,100 jobs over the month. Montana’s jobless rate is lower than the national rate of 3.9 percent.

STATE PRISON OFFICERS _ Nine Montana State Prison correctional officers were decertified in 2018 because of various conduct violations. The Montana Standard reports that at the state prison, 16 correctional officers have been decertified and fired since 2013 by the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council.

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