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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

News briefs: Jefferson River closure; ballot initiatives threshold lawsuit

Group sues the state over a law that raises ballot initiative thresholds
Shaylee Ragar | Montana Public Radio

A group of former elected officials and citizens are suing the state over a new law that raises the threshold for ballot initiatives to go before voters, saying it's unconstitutional.

The new law, passed by Republicans during the last legislative session, adds a $3,700 filing fee, prohibits the use of electronic signatures and gives the secretary of state and attorney general more say in the ballot initiative process, among other requirements.

In a suit filed in Lewis and Clark District Court, the plaintiffs argue the bill impairs, makes more expensive and “effectively denies” Montanans the constitutional power to pass legislation through a citizen initiative process. The group of plaintiffs includes former elected officials, delegates to the 1972 Constitutional Convention and citizens who’ve worked on ballot initiative campaigns.

Proponents of the bill said the law will help the state cover the cost of administering ballot initiatives and weed out frivolous proposals.

Part of the Jefferson River in Three Forks closes to recreationalists
Victoria Traxler | Montana Public Radio

A portion of the Jefferson River in Three Forks has been closed to recreationists due to safety concerns.

According to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, high river flows and ongoing repairs to the Meridian Bridge have created hazardous conditions for river-goers.

All recreation between Williams’ Bridge Fishing Access Site and Meridian Road Bridge is closed until further notice.

Updates and further information on the closure can be found at

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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