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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

February 27, 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.

TOP STORIES:

POWER PLANTS-AIR QUALITY

BILLINGS _ U.S. environmental regulators on Tuesday announced they are leaving intact an air quality standard for power plant pollution that can worsen asthma in children, despite calls by health advocates for a tougher rule. The move keeps in place a threshold for sulfur dioxide pollution established in 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama. Sulfur dioxide comes from burning coal to produce electricity and from other industrial sources. By Matthew Brown. SENT: 380 words, photo.

MEDICAID EXPANSION-MONTANA

HELENA _ A Republican lawmaker who wants most Medicaid expansion recipients to work or attend job training has updated his draft bill to ease reporting requirements after an analysis predicted tens of thousands of people could lose their coverage by failing to meet the reporting terms. Democrats are criticizing Republican Rep. Ed Buttrey’s proposal to nix coverage for those who do not complete 80 hours per month of work, job training or searching, education, volunteer work or mental health treatment, with some exemptions. By Amy Beth Hanson. SENT: 350 words.

MONTANA WEATHER

HELENA _ Residents in western Montana dug out from more than 2 feet of snow Tuesday as a winter storm pounded the southern part of the state, closing major roadways and prompting backcountry avalanche warnings. Missoula set a new daily snowfall record with 8.6 inches (22 centimeters) on Monday, breaking a mark that had stood since 1917. SENT: 350 words.

ELECTION 2020-MONEY

WASHINGTON — Democrats hoping to use the governor’s mansion to launch a campaign for the White House are likely to run into a major hurdle: money, or rather, a lack thereof. Of the current and former governors who are considering a presidential campaign, including Jay Inslee of Washington, Steve Bullock of Montana and John Hickenlooper of Colorado, none have the name recognition enjoyed by a pack of senators who are already in the race. They risk being further overshadowed if a heavyweight such as former Vice President Joe Biden jumps in, as he strongly suggested on Tuesday that he would. By Brian Slodysko. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.

CONGRESS-PUBLIC LANDS

WASHINGTON — A wide-ranging bill that revives a popular conservation program, adds 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, expands several national parks and creates five new national monuments has won congressional approval. The measure is the largest public lands bill approved by Congress in more than a decade. The House passed the bill Tuesday, 363-62, sending it to the White House for the president’s signature. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 620 words, photo.

WESTERN STORMS

SAN FRANCISCO _ A winter storm slamming the western U.S. dumped rain Tuesday in Northern California and raising the threat of floods, while heavy mountain snowfall created a risk of avalanches and whiteout conditions on roads in the Sierra Nevada. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings and flash flood watches for the San Francisco Bay Area and many parts of the Sacramento area into Thursday morning. SENT: 510 words. AP Photos.

With: WESTERN STORMS-THE LATEST

AP APPOINTMENT-WEST NEWS DIRECTOR

NEW YORK — Peter Prengaman, an award-winning multiformat global news manager, has been appointed to lead The Associated Press’ West Region. As West News Director based in Phoenix, Prengaman will oversee a team of text, photo and video journalists responsible for general news, politics and enterprise in 13 western states. The appointment was announced Tuesday by Noreen Gillespie, deputy managing editor for U.S. News. SENT: 470 words, photo.

IN BRIEF:

_ DUELING DINOSAURS _ The Montana House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill saying fossils are part of a property’s surface estate and not the mineral estate.

_ YELLOWSTONE BISON _ Five bull bison from Yellowstone National park have been transferred to an American Indian reservation in northwest Montana under an effort to bolster herds of the animals outside the park.

_ TRUMP-JUDICIAL NOMINEE _ The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to be a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a party-line vote.

_ VACCINE EXEMPTIONS-MONTANA _ Montana lawmakers are considering loosening the state’s vaccination requirements even as Washington state deals with a measles outbreak spread mainly by children who haven’t been inoculated.

_ SNOWMOBILERS RESCUED _ Search and rescue members successfully retrieved two groups of snowmobilers that became lost or stuck in southwest Montana.

_ CHILD ABUSE-HOT SAUCE _ A Montana man convicted of assaulting minors for beating his girlfriend’s sons with a belt and rubbing hot sauce in their eyes has been sentenced to prison.

SPORTS IN BRIEF:

_ BKC-NORTHERN COLORADO-MONTANA _ Jordan Davis scored 23 points and his two free throws with five seconds left gave Northern Colorado a 74-72 win over Montana on Monday night.

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