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MONTANA TOBACCO TAX INITIATIVE

HELENA —A group funded by the tobacco industry has launched a massive ad blitz against a ballot initiative to fund Montana's Medicaid expansion program and other health programs by raising the cigarette tax by $2 per pack and taxing vaping products for the first time. Montanans Against Tax Hikes booked air time starting in mid-August on television stations in Billings, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena and Glendive, according to purchase orders filed with the Federal Communications Commission records. By Matt Volz. SENT: 631 words, photo.

CRIME LAB-METH CONVICTION OVERTURNED

GREAT FALLS —A Montana judge ordered a new trial for a man convicted of possessing methamphetamine after learning a state crime lab employee ingested meth before testifying to convict him. "The manifest hypocrisy in this situation — when a Montana Department of Justice Employee with meth in his system testified and helped secure another man's meth possession conviction — is abhorrent," District Judge John Parker wrote Thursday. SENT: 296 words.

ELDER EXPLOITATION-VAGUE LAW

MISSOULA — A state judge ruled that Montana's elder exploitation law is vague and doesn't require evidence of criminal intent to prosecute. The ruling came Tuesday in the case of an 80-year-old woman who is charged with taking money from an account for which she was a co-signor after the other co-signor, a man who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, gave her control of his finances in 2012. SENT: 209 words.

OF MONTANA INTEREST:

TAX OVERHAUL-HIGH TAX STATES

WASHINGTON —The Trump administration has laid down rules aimed at preventing residents in high-tax states from avoiding a new cap on widely popular state and local tax deductions. The action under the new Republican tax law pits the government against high-tax, heavily Democratic states in an election-year showdown. By Marcy Gordon and Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

With:

TAX OVERHAUL-HIGH TAX STATES-Q&A.

YELLOWSTONE BEAR ATTACK

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Officials in Yellowstone National Park say they don't plan to capture or kill a bear that injured a 10-year-old boy from Washington state. SENT: 130 words.

IN BRIEF:

MONTANA WILDFIRES — A fast-growing wildfire just south of the U.S.-Canada border has led to evacuations of parts of Montana's Glacier and Canada's Waterton Lakes national parks.

BABY DEATH-SENTENCE — A 29-year-old Billings man who pleaded guilty to throwing his 7-month-old on the ground in May 2017, killing him, has been sentenced to 80 years in prison.

COAL EXPORT-WASHINGTON — Six states have lined up in support of Washington state in a legal battle over its decision to block a proposed coal-export terminal on the Columbia River.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to apdenver@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Montana and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click "All" or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.