- Associated Press - Friday, January 13, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Montana Supreme Court is taking over a case to decide whether the commissioner of political practices’ term has ended or should run until mid-2019.

The high court on Friday ordered the sides to submit their arguments by Jan. 26, signaling that it plans to rule quickly.

At issue is whether Commissioner Jonathan Motl was appointed in 2013 to serve the remainder of an unexpired term that ended Jan. 1 or whether his appointment triggered a full six-year term.

Gov. Steve Bullock’s appointment letter set the term’s expiration as Jan. 1. The Senate confirmed Motl with the same ending date.

The plaintiffs seeking to extend Motl’s term are a former state official, two ex-lawmakers, the head of the state trial lawyers association and an advocacy group.

Motl is continuing in the job until the dispute is resolved.

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