The toxic chemical whack-a-mole game

When her black cat rapidly dropped from a healthy 14 pounds to a skeletal five pounds, it was natural for Arlene Blum to investigate whether a toxic chemical in her home might be to blame. The veterinarian’s diagnosis raised that possibility, and Blum had expertise in the harm that chemicals can cause.

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Federal judge who sealed Cebull file retires amid sexual misconduct allegations

By John S. Adams, Montana Free Press
The federal judge who ordered that the results of a lengthy misconduct investigation into a former Montana chief judge be sealed resigned Monday amid allegations of sexual misconduct. According the Washington Post:
Alex Kozinski, the powerful judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who was facing a judicial investigation over allegations that he subjected 15 women to inappropriate sexual behavior, announced Monday that he would retire effective immediately.

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After a decade-long internal battle, have legislative Republicans buried the hatchet?

By John S. Adams, Montana Free Press
For the better part of the past decade, Montana Republicans have enjoyed comfortable majorities in the state Legislature. Despite those majorities (or maybe because of them), GOP caucuses in the House and Senate have spent much of the past 10 years engaged in a bitter, and oftentimes very public, intra-party feud.

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GOP budget plan hopes to “corral” Governor

Shelby prison deal could be Bullock’s “one exit”
By John S. Adams, Montana Free Press
As state lawmakers lay the groundwork for a special legislative session to tackle Montana’s $227 million budget shortfall, the proposed GOP deal for how to plug the gap is coming into focus. At the same time, two independent sources have confirmed to the Montana Free Press that Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, in “in talks” with top executives of CoreCivic, the owners of a private prison in Shelby that is at the center of the 2017 special session’s most contentious proposal.

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Bullock betting on budget deal

Private prison in Shelby central to special session negotiations
By John S. Adams, Montana Free Press
As lawmakers prepare to gather in Helena on Monday, the question looming over the state Capitol is this: can Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock hammer out a deal with House and Senate Republicans, or will lawmakers leave town without an agreement and force Bullock to slash hundreds of millions in government programs and services to cover the state’s the $227 million budget shortfall? “As far as I know this is uncharted territory,” Republican House Speaker Austin Knudsen said in an interview Friday.

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