5 things to know today in Montana

2014-06-06T07:06:00Z 5 things to know today in MontanaThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 06, 2014 7:06 am  • 

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

Oil shipment information: U.S. railroads are asking states to sign agreements not to disclose information about their crude oil shipments the federal government is forcing them to turn over. Officials in Montana, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington state have refused to sign, citing open record laws and the need for public awareness.

Blackfeet courts funding: Federal officials have found the Blackfeet tribe's court system is a mess, and they are threatening to cut off funding until the problems are fixed. A U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs review sent to tribal officials says one side of a split Blackfeet Tribal Business Council wields significant influence over court activities, resulting in due process and possible civil rights violations.

State budget: Analysts have given lawmakers an update on the state's fiscal outlook, saying the numbers show the 2015 biennium budget is staying close to projections. The state is now forecast to have about $349 million left at the end of the 2015 budget period. That's down about $4 million from a March projection due to revised estimates on an old state fund liability.

Commissioner appointments: An interim legislative panel is considering a bill that would require the governor to choose a commissioner of political practices from a list of nominees. Currently, the governor does not have to pick from candidates recommended by legislative leaders, but the six-year appointment must be confirmed by the state Senate. If the panel approves the bill, it will be introduced in the 2015 legislative session.

Wolf shooting: State wildlife officials are investigating the illegal shooting of a wolf in western Montana last weekend. The wolf was fitted with a GPS collar in Oregon in 2013 and had made its way through Idaho and the Big Hole Valley before arriving in the Bitterroot Valley earlier this month.

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