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Child protection. With legislative sponsor Rep. Margie MacDonald and Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder seated beside him, Gov. Steve Bullock signed a bill that requires state child protection authorities to promptly relay felony child abuse reports to local law enforcement. The gap in old law was discovered in a Yellowstone County case when a mother reported a case of sexual abuse to the Sheriff’s Office that she had reported to state child protection authorities a year earlier. The state agency had not notified local law enforcement. County Attorney Scott Twito ultimately filed felony sex abuse charges in that case, and helped draft the new law closing the reporting loophole. Bullock recently also signed bills that increase penalties for offenders who assault children under 36 months of age and that establish child endangerment as a felony.

Outdoor crowd. More than 8,400 girls and women of all ages and abilities ran and walked for 2 or 5 miles in the 32nd Annual Montana Women’s Run. The run is the largest racing event in Montana and it raises money for local women’s health and safety services.

Rapid returns. The counting of Yellowstone County all-mail ballots ran smoothly Tuesday. Complete school election results were available by 9 p.m., an hour after voting closed. As a precaution against the counting machine delays seen at the November election, two technicians from the manufacturer were on hand in the elections office.

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Teens clean up. Huntley Project High School’s entire student body, along with parents and faculty spent Wednesday picking up litter along the 18-mile stretch of I-94 between Huntley and Pompeys Pillar. The 380 volunteers filled 483 bags with litter. Bags and safety vests were provided by Bright n’ Beautiful. Huntley Project Lions furnished refreshments.

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