MT Senate Judiciary Chair Steps Down

Aaron Flint posted on January 20, 2011 16:08 :: 1120 Views

As I mentioned the breaking news on Thursday morning’s “Voices of Montana,” State Senator Jim Shockley (R-Victor) stepped down from his role as Chairman of the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee.  All this, after being ticketed for violating Montana’s open container ban.  Shockley passed a breathalyzer test so was not drinking and driving.  

KTVQ has this:

Fellow lawmakers expressed their support of Shockley.

Senator Anders Blewett (D-Great Falls) noted, “Each of us is probably a hypocrite in some way or another, I don’t think that disqualifies any of us from doing our best.”

Senator Larry Jent (D-Bozeman) told Shockley, “You are a man of honor and everyone knows that.”

The Washington Post picked up on the original story:

In 2003, Shockley led the lawmakers who killed an attempt to ban drivers from drinking a beer while they were driving – as long as the driver wasn’t drunk. At the time, many argued it is a tradition in Montana to have a beer while driving home from work, or fishing or hunting.

Shockley eventually supported the ban, and it is now illegal in the state for a driver to hold an open container.

Meanwhile, The Missoulian has a rundown of DUI bills before the legislature that you can find here.

In other political news, and as I also mentioned the breaking news during Thursday morning’s show, a judge has rejected the Barkus plea deal and dealt a new sentence.   Dax Van Fossen and Mark Thorsell have this:

Former State Senator Greg Barkus has avoided jail time, but will have to pay a hefty fine as a result of the August 2009 boat crash near Bigfork which injured Congressman Denny Rehberg and three others.

Judge John McKeon of Malta issued the sentence on Thursday after tossing out a plea agreement which Barkus had signed off on.

McKeon sentenced the Kalispell Republican to a four year deferred sentence and supervised probation in addition to a $25,000 fine and $4,000 in restitution.

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