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In Montana, a plan to empower local sheriffs


HELENA — The line of people stretched out the door of the committee room, all waiting for their turn to condemn or express their fears about the federal government.

Most identified themselves as ordinary Montana citizens or tea party supporters united by the belief that the government is chipping away at their rights and abusing the constitutions of the state and the nation.

They'd arrived for a public hearing on the so-called "Sheriffs First Act," a Montana senator's proposal to make sheriffs the supreme authorities in their counties. Federal agents would be required to obtain written...

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