S.D. lawmakers take first step in repealing ethics overhaul
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South Dakota lawmakers took the first step Monday to repeal an embattled government ethics overhaul approved by voters in November.
The House and Senate State Affairs committees held a joint hearing on the proposal, which the House panel voted to send to the chamber’s floor. The bill would dismantle the initiative that created an ethics commission, public campaign funding and limitations on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.
A little over 51 percent of voters supported the initiative, and backers have criticized the Legislature for working to overturn the result of the election. The bill is a “one-sided attempt to thwart the will of the voters,” said Mitch Richter, a lobbyist for supporters of the ballot measure.
Before the legislative session, a group of two dozen GOP legislators and others challenged the measure’s constitutionality in state court, which put the initiative on hold while the lawsuit moves forward. South Dakotans for Integrity, a political committee that supported the initiative, is asking the state Supreme Court to allow them to join the lawsuit.