HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A state senator and Blackfeet tribal leader accused of drunken driving and obstructing a peace officer is being excused from committee work.

Democratic Sen. Shannon Augare of Browning is scheduled to appear in court next week on the on three misdemeanor charges. He allegedly fled a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 2 within the Blackfeet reservation's boundaries after telling a sheriff's deputy he had no jurisdiction.

Augare was not at a Thursday meeting of the Law and Justice Interim Committee, his second missed meeting.

Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso of Butte says Augare asked to be excused until the matter is resolved. Sesso says he agreed it would be best.

Republican Senate President Jeff Essmann says he didn't think it would be appropriate for Augare to attend with "serious charges" pending.