June 14 Montana News Briefs

Friday, June 14, 2019

Lawmakers fail to override 4 vetoes by Gov. Steve Bullock

HELENA (AP) — Montana lawmakers did not have enough support to override four vetoes by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Poll results released Friday showed lawmakers did not reach the two-thirds majority needed in the state House and the Senate to override vetoes on a bill that would have given health insurers the ability to regulate pharmacy benefit managers, two bills that would have created tax breaks and a campus free-speech bill. Bullock vetoed a bill proposed by Republican State Auditor Matt Rosendale that sought to lower prescription drug prices by requiring pharmacy benefit managers to pass on drug manufacturer rebates to insurers. Bullock said the proposal would actually increase costs. In total, lawmakers voted 108-40 in favor of Rosendale's bill during the session, but the override effort fell short by five votes in each chamber.

Ex-Montana bank executive pleads not guilty to bank fraud

BILLINGS (AP) — A former Montana bank executive has denied charges that he approved two bank loans to a coal executive without disclosing separate private loans that he had either made or facilitated on behalf of an investor group. The Billings Gazette reports Stephen Phillip Casher pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday to charges of money laundering, blackmail and bank fraud. Prosecutors say the former Rocky Mountain Bank executive approved loans for Larry Price Jr., who was convicted of wire fraud, money laundering and lying to federal investigators last year. The charges allege that Casher approved the loans knowing his investor group had made high-interest loans to Price. Prosecutors also allege that Casher received interest in real estate deals by threatening to inform authorities about wire fraud activity.

Montana State Prison inmate dies after extended illness

DEER LODGE (AP) — A 48-year-old Montana State Prison inmate has died after an extended illness. Amy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Corrections, says Robert Bruce Scollard was found unresponsive in a low-security housing unit on Wednesday and could not be resuscitated. Barton told The Montana Standard in Butte she could not release any details about the illness. Scollard was first booked into the state prison in 2014 for robbery and attempted robbery in Yellowstone County. He was released on parole in 2017 and sent back to prison the following year for attempted robbery in Lewis and Clark County. Scollard, whose release date was 2028, was eligible for parole when he died.