A court official said Thursday that jurors adjourned shortly before 12:30 p.m., and will return Monday for more deliberations in U.S. District Court.
The jury deliberated a half-day last week before returning for three full days this week.
Testimony took two months. Each defendant faces 10 charges including threatening and assaulting a federal officer, extortion, obstruction, weapon violations and conspiracy.
Each could face more than 50 years in prison if he’s found guilty of crimes of violence.
No shots were fired in the standoff near Bunkerville before the federal Bureau of Land Management abandoned the roundup and withdrew.
Gov. Bullock vetoes parks management bill
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed four bills, including one that would have transferred authority of the state’s park system to a volunteer board.
The governor also signed 21 other bills into law Thursday and sought changes to three others — including an amendatory veto issued for a bill Republicans said would keep Medicaid money from being shifted to other programs.
In his veto message, Bullock called the parks measure a well-intentioned proposal but said it would not be “an effective way to manager our parks.” He said he would launch an initiative to address funding, operations and other challenges faced by the park system.
Among the bills the governor signed was a measure protecting public employees who allege governmental waste, fraud or abuse.
House gives initial approval to raising contribution limits
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House has endorsed a measure it previously rejected to raise campaign contribution limits for state candidates and change how the commissioner of political practices enforces violations.
The bill passed an initial vote 54-46 Thursday and must pass a final vote before it goes to Gov. Steve Bullock.
On Tuesday, the House rejected the measure 50-50, but brought it back for reconsideration.
The bill would raise contribution limits as a lawsuit challenging those limits as too low is pending in a federal appeals court.
It would also add an outside mediator to review campaign violation cases and give the attorney general oversight of any prosecutions.
Democratic lawmakers argued against the bill, saying it would undermine the campaign disclosure reforms passed in 2015 and allow big-money interests to influence elections.
The Latest: Senate confirms political practices commissioner
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Senate has confirmed a new commissioner of political practices less than 24 hours after Gov. Steve Bullock appointed him.
Jeff Mangan said before Thursday’s confirmation that he expects to be sworn in by the third week of May.
He will replace Commissioner Jonathan Motl overseeing the state’s campaign, lobbying and ethics laws.
Mangan is a former Democratic lawmaker who lives in Great Falls.
He says he wants to end the perception of partisanship in the commissioner’s office by increasing transparency and accountability.
The Senate voted 48-1 to confirm him less than an hour after a Senate committee questioned him.
Republican Sen. Dee Brown of Hungry Horse calls it “the lightning appointment of all time.”
Charter schools proposal gets debate in Montana Senate
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Senate has revived a charter schools bill that would sidestep the authority of school boards by establishing a new statewide commission.
Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, a Republican from Stevensville, won the barest support needed to move the bill out of the chamber’s Education Committee. Representatives voted 26-24 Thursday to give the matter a hearing on the Senate floor.
Democratic Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy sponsored the bill, which the House approved in February.
Windy Boy says the measure is needed to give communities, especially those across tribal lands, more flexibility and choice in education.
But critics worry that the proposal could siphon money from the public school system and would not have the same level of standards and accountability required of traditional public schools.
$10.3B budget a vote away from Montana governor’s desk
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House has endorsed the Senate’s changes to the 2018-2019 state budget, leaving one more floor vote before the $10.3 billion spending plan goes to Gov. Steve Bullock.
Thursday’s vote was 60-40, with Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder the only Democrat joining the Republican majority in approving the bill.
House Speaker Austin Knudsen called this budget the tightest he’s seen in four legislative sessions. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nancy Ballance says despite cuts across most agencies, essential services such as education, health care and corrections are still funded.
Democratic lawmakers say the spending plan cuts higher education too deeply and shifts public school costs to property taxpayers.
House Minority Leader Jenny Eck says the Republican majority’s decision to reject tax increases on the wealthy and out-of-state corporations means working families will have to pay.