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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

May 2, 2019

Montana at 6 p.m.

The desk can be reached at 406-442-7440. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

MONTANA-HEALTH CARE COSTS

HELENA _ Gov. Steve Bullock has signed legislation meant to lower premiums for Montana customers who receive health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplace. Bullock signed the bill Tuesday creating a reinsurance program to help reimburse insurers for high-cost claims so those costs aren’t included in determining individual marketplace premiums for the following year. By Amy Beth Hanson. SENT: 400 words.

PHYSICIAN-SEXUAL ASSAULT

BUTTE — A longtime Butte physician who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting six female patients was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison with 10 years suspended. District Judge Kathy Seeley also ordered Patrick McGree to register as a Tier 2 sexual offender, a level that that categorizes him as at moderate risk to become a repeat offender. SENT: 280 words.

WILDFIRE PROJECTIONS

SPOKANE, Wash. _ Most of the country can expect a normal wildfire season but residents along the West Coast of the United States should be ready for another busy season, the National Interagency Fire Center said Wednesday. California experienced its deadliest and largest wildfires in the past two years, including a fire in the northern part of the state last year that destroyed the town of Paradise, killing more than 80 people. It was the nation’s worst death toll from a wildfire in a century. By Nicholas K. Geranios. SENT: 370 words, photos.

WILDLIFE KILLING-LAWSUIT

BOISE _ A federal agency says it will conduct an extensive environmental study on its decision to expand the killing of wolves and other predators in Idaho attacking livestock to also include predators attacking deer and elk. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a government notice says it anticipates taking public comments this month to prepare the environmental impact statement. By Keith Ridler. SENT: 500 words.

ELECTION 2020-SCHUMER

WASHINGTON _ Senate Democrats are stinging from a trio of high-profile failures to recruit candidates who could help reclaim the majority, including Stacey Abrams’ announcement that she would pass up a U.S. Senate run in Georgia. That decision, announced Tuesday, was a blow to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. After Abrams gained fame from her ultimately unsuccessful effort to become America’s first black female governor last year, Schumer personally — and publicly — urged her to consider challenging GOP Sen. David Perdue. In a particularly notable move, he tapped her earlier this year to deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. By Elana Schor. SENT: 930 words, photos.

GENERAL MOTORS-LAWSUIT

PARKER, S.D. _ General Motors has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a South Dakota man who claims the automaker misled consumers about its electric car model. In a lawsuit filed in state court in Turner County, South Dakota, Jason Haas said he bought a Chevy Bolt in November 2017 from a dealer in Iowa City, Iowa and the car’s literature said it had an electric range of 238 miles (383.01 kilometers). But, Haas claims the Bolt’s range is 100 miles (160.93 kilometers) less in cold weather. SENT: 260 words.

IN BRIEF:

_ BABY IN WOODS _ An Oregon man who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for abandoning a 5-month-old baby in the woods of western Montana while he was high on meth and bath salts now faces a federal gun charge.

_ MONTANA DEPUTY KILLED _ A Montana judge has ruled a man charged in the May 2017 shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy can be forcibly medicated so he is fit to stand trial.

_ PUBLIC DEFENDERS-MISDEMEANORS _ The Montana Supreme Court says a judge can’t order a public defender to represent a criminal defendant if no jail time is at stake.

_ MONTANA-CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE _ The University of Montana has closed a campus center for promoting Chinese language and culture.

_ MONTANA EAGLE-LEAD POISON _ A bald eagle found dead in Montana’s Glacier National Park died of lead poisoning.

_ DRUG DEAL-SHOOTING _ A teenager who shot two people he says jumped him during a drug deal gone wrong has agreed to plead guilty.

_ GOVERNOR-GRIZZLY BEARS _ More than 150 people have applied to sit on an advisory committee to come up with recommendations on how to manage Montana’s grizzly bears.

_ NATURAL GAS PIPELINE _ North Dakota regulators have approved a siting permit for a natural gas liquids pipeline project in the western part of the state.

_ GRIZZLY BEARS-WYOMING _ The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has opted not to hold a grizzly bear hunt this year.

_ NEW MEXICO-HOSPITAL _ A New Mexico hospital has become the first in the state to join the Mayo Clinic Network.

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