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HELENA - A Bozeman lawmaker says light pollution is dimming enjoyment of the state's big skies and he's offered a bill to shield the glare created by outdoor lighting.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Bob Hawks requires that as outdoor light fixtures are replaced, they be given covers to limit their glow.

The proposed law would only apply in cities of 5,000 or more people. It also makes exceptions for industry, airports and government buildings.

Astronomers gave their support to the bill, noting that galaxy gazing depends on dark skies.

But many more opponents turned out for the hearing, including NorthWestern Energy and the Montana Chamber of Commerce. They are worried about the costs of replacement and security.

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