Aug. 13 Montana News Briefs

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ride girl fell from closed for rest of Western Montana Fair

MISSOULA (AP) — A high-speed carnival ride that an 11-year-old girl fell from at the Western Montana Fair will remain closed for the rest of the fair. Police say the girl suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries when she fell from the Typhoon ride Thursday evening. Missoula County risk manager Erica Grinde told the Missoulian that there’s no reason to believe any of the other rides at the fair are unsafe and they will continue to operate. Grinde told the newspaper that Montana is one of a handful of states that doesn’t have safety oversight of amusement rides. She says the city and county don’t have laws or regulations for them either. Missoula Fairgrounds director Emily Brock says everyone at the fair is pulling for the girl who was injured.

Officials search Tonge River for drowning victim

BILLINGS (AP) — Officials continue to search the Tongue River in southeastern Montana for a reported drowning victim. Rosebud County Sheriff Allen Fulton tells The Billings Gazette the man, who was in his early 40s, was swimming with family Wednesday afternoon near Birney when “he didn’t come back up.” Allen says the man is from the area, but he did not release his name. Fulton says 20 people with boats and an airplane, along with a diver, searched on Thursday. He says they’ve requested a search dog to help the recovery efforts on Friday.

2 companies to raise Montana insurance rates in 2019

HELENA (AP) — Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale says he’s finalized next year’s rates for companies that sell health insurance policies through the Affordable Care Act’s federal exchange. The rates approved Friday include premium rate hikes for two of the three companies. Rosendale’s office said in a statement the rate proposals contained no deficiencies. The commissioner reviews the proposals, but can’t reject them unless they are discriminatory. The Montana Health Co-op will raise rates for plans on the individual market that cover about 22,700 people in the state by an average of 10.3 percent. PacificSource will raise its rates an average of 6 percent for individual plans covering about 12,400 people. Blue Cross and Blue Shield didn’t propose a rate increase after an average rate hike of more than 22 percent last year.

Judges, task forces want tougher DUI laws in Montana

BOZEMAN (AP) — Members of DUI task forces are asking legislators for tougher laws against impaired driving in Montana. The state had the nation’s highest percentage of fatal crashes involving impaired drivers in three of the five years between 2012 and 2016. The DUI Law Committee asked the legislature’s Interim Law and Justice Committee to consider making a third DUI a felony and require ignition interlock devices after a first DUI. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the DUI Law Committee made its recommendations after asking task force members and lower court judges how they would reduce the incidence of DUIs. The committee also suggested setting up more wellpublicized sobriety checkpoints and allowing officers to get an electronic warrant for drivers who refuse breath tests. The Law and Justice committee meets again in September.