Political Scene

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Now it appears they’ll do neither, leaving the state in the same legal limbo that has existed since a Montana Supreme Court ruling effectively legalized the practice more than a year ago.

Both bills were tabled in committee this week, all but killing the measures for the 2011 session — and likely for at least the next two years. The final nail was hammered last week when Sen. Greg Hinkle attempted to bypass the judiciary committee and bring his bill to ban assisted suicide to the full Senate.

His colleagues overwhelmingly voted him down, 35-15.

Either measure conceivably could be brought back this session, but the sponsor of the other bill, the one that would have created standards and regulations for assisted suicide, said he believes that would be highly unlikely. “That ship has sailed,” said Democratic Sen. Anders Blewett, a Great Falls attorney.

DEFENSE

Chemical-eating bugs planned in cleanup

RICHMOND | The Defense Logistics Agency is looking to use chemical-eating bugs to help clean up the area around the Defense Supply Center in Richmond.

An agency study on using the microscopic bugs to restore and protect the environment at the site was developed with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Officials say the site served as a firefighting training area in the 1960s where flammable liquid chemicals and petroleum products were used during exercises. According to the study, those activities are the most likely cause of groundwater degradation beneath the site.

The agency plans to rely on micro-organisms to decompose contaminants and render them harmless. Officials say the system has been tested elsewhere with positive results.

VIRGINIA

Kaine to decide soon on U.S. Senate bid

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said Saturday night that he plans to make a decision soon on whether he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee spoke at the Democratic Party of Virginia’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond. He addressed the question on whether he’d bid for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb.

“My wife Anne and I … we’re spending some time reflecting about it,” he said. “Whatever decision I make, I’m confident that the next senator from Virginia will be a Democrat.”

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