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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Commissioners say Lake County will withdraw from CSKT law enforcement deal

Lake County commissioners say the state should pay the county for law enforcement services on tribal lands. A judge ruled earlier this month that the state isn’t required to do so.

Lake County commissioners Monday sent a letter to Gov. Greg Gianforte reiterating that the county will no longer oversee felony cases on the reservation.

Commissioners issued a resolution to withdraw from the decades-old agreement with the state and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe earlier this year.

State law requires Gov. Gianforte to recognize the decision by Nov. 26. The state will eventually take over law enforcement services.

County commissioners have long argued that the county doesn’t have the tax base to pay for law enforcement on tribal lands.

Lawmakers this year passed a law allocating $2.5 million annually to Lake County, but Gov. Gianforte vetoed the bill.

Gianforte’s office says it will “work with stakeholders to find the best path forward.” CSKT declined to comment.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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