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Montana Legislature Senate chamber.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana Senate committee voted Thursday to give additional funding to schools and the public defender's office while restoring some money to the state Department of Revenue to better serve taxpayers and collect revenue.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. House has approved legislation for the federal government to recognize Montana's Little Shell Band of Chippewa Cree Indians.

The proposal by Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte passed on 403-21 vote Tuesday. Identical legislation in the U.S. Senate, where a similar proposal died last session, is pending.

Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Conservation groups are asking a federal judge to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on energy companies that were meant to protect a struggling Western bird species.

Attorneys for Western Watersheds Project, Prairie Hills Audubon Society and two other groups made the request Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boise, Idaho.

Service dog. Stock photo.
iStock

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House on Monday endorsed a bill that would set fines for people who misrepresent their pets as service animals in order to bring them into public places such as grocery stores or restaurants.

The House voted 85-15 in favor of the bill. It faces a final vote before moving to the Senate.

Flooding concerns continue in southeastern Montana due to rapid snowmelt and ice jams.
National Weather Service - Billings

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Flooding shut down a long stretch of Interstate 90 and covered other roadways across Montana on Monday with the still-frozen ground unable to absorb the rapidly melting snow and ice jams causing water to spill over river banks.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's election administrators are asking lawmakers to allow them to open and begin counting absentee ballots earlier because the number of mailed-in ballots continues to increase.

The Senate has passed a bill that would allow absentee ballots to be opened starting on the Thursday before Election Day and for the counting of absentee ballots to start the Monday before Election Day.

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

A 55-year-old restaurant manager died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall, police said.

Suffolk County police identified the man who died as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.

Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

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