MTPR

Chuck Denowh

The Trump administration is repealing an Obama-era rule that forced energy companies to pay more royalties on fossil fuels. Coal producers call it a return to fairness, but environmental groups say the repeal allows companies to continue exploiting a decades-old loophole.

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The Montana Supreme Court has ordered a temporary stop to Marsy’s Law, the constitutional amendment approved by voters last fall.

The court halted Marsy’s Law, which increases the rights of crime victims, until another legal case challenging the constitutionality of new law is resolved. The constitutional amendment was scheduled to go into effect July 1.

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A group of Montana individuals and organizations is suing to stop a list of rights for crime victims, known as Marcy’s Law, from going into effect in the state on July 1.

Montana voters passed Marcy’s Law last November.

Environmental organizations reacted Wednesday to reports that Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior. The Interior Department and other U.S. agencies control almost a third of Montana’s land and even more of the vast amounts of coal, oil and natural gas that lay beneath it.

Zinke has been critical of federal land management and has advocated for more development of coal, oil and natural gas. However he's also an outspoken supporter of keeping public lands in federal hands.

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State elections officials today officially certified the passage of a constitutional amendment giving more rights to crime victims known as "Marsy’s law," but it’s still unclear when the law will take effect.
 
A petition filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and county attorneys aims to hold the constitutional change off until July. Advocates for the law say it should be implemented immediately.

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