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House panel passes bill repealing government ethics measure

PIERRE (AP) -- A bill that would repeal a sweeping government ethics overhaul approved by voters in November has passed its first legislative test. The House and Senate State Affairs committees held a hearing Monday on the proposal, which the Hou...

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(The Daily Republic file photo)

PIERRE (AP) - A bill that would repeal a sweeping government ethics overhaul approved by voters in November has passed its first legislative test.

The House and Senate State Affairs committees held a hearing Monday on the proposal, which the House panel voted to send to the chamber's floor.

The measure would dismantle the initiative that created an ethics commission, public campaign funding and limitations on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.

Before the legislative session, GOP legislators and others challenged the measure's constitutionality in state court, which put the initiative on hold while the lawsuit moves forward.

Repeal bill supporter Rep. Mark Mickelson says it didn't take long for a judge to determine it's likely unconstitutional. Mitch Richter, a lobbyist for ballot measure supporters, says the repeal bill is an attempt to thwart voters' will.

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