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House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that jobs and the economy will be the top priorities on an agenda to be announced Thursday. Mr. Bettencourt says there’s widespread agreement that social issues will have to take a back seat.

Gay marriage was enacted in 2009 when Democrats controlled the Legislature. Democratic Gov. John Lynch signed the law and has since said he would veto any repeal attempt.

Conservatives were hoping for enough votes to repeal gay marriage and overturn a veto after voters in November elected a Republican majority to the Legislature.


State election bill to cover mail

TOPEKA | Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach’s plan for addressing election fraud will include proposals dealing with mail-in ballots.

Mr. Kobach told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the provisions he is drafting to deal with mail-in ballots are important to his goal of giving Kansas the strongest law on election fraud in the nation.

The Republican promised during his campaign last year to propose legislation requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls and to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote for the first time in a new location.

But he said Wednesday that his proposal will require voters who request mail-in ballots to provide a driver’s license or identification number. Also, he said county officials will have to verify the requesters’ signatures.


Lawmaker considers spear-hunting bill

HELENA | A Thompson Falls lawmaker wants Montanans to have the option of hunting with a hand-thrown spear.

The Independent Record reports that the Senate Fish and Game Committee discussed Republican Sen. Greg Hinkle’s bill on Tuesday and nearly voted to approve it. However, committee members decided the bill needed to clarify the hunting season in which the practice would be allowed. The committee is expected to consider the bill again on Thursday.

Mr. Hinkle said about a dozen other states have legalized the use of spears in hunting. Senate Bill 112 also would allow the use of an atlatl, a spear thrown with a separate device to increase power.

Spear hunters often await their game from up in trees or track the game with dogs.

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