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Lake County law enforcement funding proposal passes Montana Senate

Lake County Courthouse
Posted at 2:09 PM, Apr 28, 2023

HELENA - A proposal to have the state contribute funding to support Lake County's law enforcement services on the Flathead Indian Reservation has passed the Montana Senate but with a new amendment.

The issue revolves around Public Law 280.

That arrangement — the only one of its kind in Montana — is based on an agreement between the state and federal governments and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).

The new amendment to House Bill 479 — sponsored by Rep. Joe Read, R-Ronan — would create a task force that would include CSKT, Lake County commissioners, a representative for the governor and the attorney general.

The task force would publish reports and provide recommendations to the governor and legislature based on their findings.

The purpose of the bill is to provide for two years of cushion — $2.5 million a year — to reimburse Lake County and find a long-term solution for this issue.