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A 2020 Montana primary absentee ballot
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowston Public Radio

A Montana judge issued a ruling Tuesday that blocks the state from enforcing a voter-approved law restricting the collection of absentee ballots during elections.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, August 16, 2018.
Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock's campaign said Monday that it raised $7.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The Democrat's bid against Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines has emerged as a critical race in the fight for control of the U.S. Senate.

Black Coffee Roasters in Missoula was empty on March 16, 2020 after moving to takeout orders only in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
William Marcus

More than 23,000 businesses and nonprofit organizations in Montana received loans from a federal rescue package meant to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, totaling over $1.7 billion, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

An outside group is running ads trying to influence voters in Montana's U.S. Senate race — a battle between Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock that could be key in determining which party holds the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Gianforte and Mike Cooney each raised over $200,000 in the most recent 30-day campaign finance reporting period.

Yellowstone visitors line up at the park's north entrance outside of Gardiner, Montana.
Yellowstone National Park (PD)

Tourist spending in and around Yellowstone National Park supported about 7,000 jobs last year, according to a National Park Service report released this week.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported that the roughly 4 million people who visited the world’s first national park in 2019 spent $507 million dollars in towns within 60 miles of the park. That doesn’t include Bozeman, which is about 80 miles from Yellowstone’s border, but does include the gateway cities of West Yellowstone and Gardiner.

A trail sign near the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (PD)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A pilot has been fined for landing a helicopter in a federally protected wilderness area in Montana.

Samuel L. Schwerin, 48, landed his helicopter in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex May 16, The Daily Inter Lake reports.

Montana has paid out more than $10 million in potentially fraudulent unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has stopped more than $220 million in fraudulent payments since April 28, the Department of Labor and Industry said Thursday.

BLM firefighters stand near their firetruck as smoke rises up in the background.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

Fire potential in Western Montana this summer is predicted to be above normal, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

“The wild card, of course, is COVID and how we’ll deal with response,” said Bryan Henry, a NIFC meteorologist, in a June 1 podcast.

Grizzly bear family. Stock photo.
iStock

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A sow grizzly bear and two cubs were captured because they were coming near residences along the Rocky Mountain Front to eat spilled grain, Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said.

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