Rural post offices in Montana and elsewhere would be saved for at least a year under a measure that passed the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The amendment to a U.S. Postal Service bill would establish a one-year moratorium on the closing of any rural post office. In Montana, approximately 85 post offices are slated for closure. Many of them serve rural populations in places such as Highwood and Ingomar.

After the moratorium, the U.S. Postal Service could only close rural post offices if certain requirements are met, such as making sure there is another post office within 10 miles and that senior citizens and people with disabilities won’t be cut off from access to prescription medications sent by mail.

USPS also must make sure businesses in the community won’t suffer economic losses and that the area served by the post office has adequate access to wired broadband Internet service.

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