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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

March 16, 2019

Montana at 6 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.

UPCOMING TOMORROW:

MONTANA MEDICAID EXPANSION

HELENA _ Montana lawmakers begin hearing testimony on two long-awaited bills that seek to continue Medicaid expansion, including a Republican bill that seeks to implement work requirements.

TOP STORIES TODAY:

SAGE GROUSE-ENERGY LEASES

BILLINGS _ The Trump administration on Friday finalized changes to sweeping federal land use plans for the West, easing restrictions on energy companies and other industries in a way officials said would still protect a struggling bird species. The changes by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will guide future efforts to conserve greater sage grouse, ground-dwelling birds that range across portions of 11 Western states. By Matthew Brown. SENT: 740 words, photos.

With: SAGE GROUSE-ENERGY LEASES-THE LATEST

MONTANA TROOPER SHOT

MISSOULA _ A Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was investigating an earlier shooting was himself shot and critically injured early Friday after finding the suspect’s vehicle, leading authorities to launch an overnight manhunt that ended in the arrest of a 29-year-old man, officials said. Another trooper found Wade Palmer, 35, wounded and still buckled into his patrol car near a bar in the small town of Evaro, a statement from Montana Highway Patrol officials said. The shooter had fled. SENT: 360 words, photos.

With: MONTANA TROOPER SHOT-THE LATEST

OF MONTANA INTEREST:

COAL EXPORTS-WYOMING

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed a bill Friday that would have allowed the Legislature to sue the state of Washington over coal exports. It’s important for Wyoming to “speak with one voice” on coal-export litigation, Gordon said. Wyoming is the top coal-producing state. Wyoming’s coal industry seeks to export more coal overseas to offset declining demand for coal from electric utilities in the U.S. By Mead Gruver. SENT: 330 words.

WINTER WEATHER

BISMARCK, N.D. _ Flooding in the central U.S. on Friday swamped small towns, forced some residents along waterways to evacuate, threatened to temporarily close a nuclear power plant and shut down stretches of a major river and an interstate highway, foreshadowing a difficult spring flooding season. The high water, prompted by a massive late-winter storm, pushed some waterways to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The flooding was the worst in nearly a decade in places, though the situation was expected to improve quickly in many places over the weekend, according to Mike Gillispie, National Weather Service hydrologist in Sioux Falls. By Margery A. Beck and Blake Nicholson. SENT: 950 words, photos.

With: WINTER WEATHER-THE LATEST

IN BRIEF:

_ MONTANA SCHOOL-SEX ABUSE _ Former student-athletes who say they were sexually abused by a Montana high school trainer are refuting claims that the school district wasn’t aware of the abuse.

_ KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE _ A federal appeals court has upheld a Montana judge’s ruling barring construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

_ HELENA-PARENTS KILLED _ A 22-year-old Montana man who was convicted of killing his parents has been sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole.

_ COUNTY COMMISSIONER-INVESTIGATION _ State investigators are examining whether a county commissioner misused county funds to build a road on private land leading to her family’s property.

SPORTS:

BKC-WEBER ST-MONTANA

BOISE, Idaho _ Montana meets Weber State in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament Friday night. (Game started at 5:30 p.m. MT)

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