Judge: SD Voter-Approved Ethics Overhaul Can’t Be Separated

PIERRE – A judge has ruled that a South Dakota anti-corruption package approved by voters cannot be separated into different parts.

Circuit Judge Mark Barnett ruled Wednesday that leaving only part of the measure in effect would be inappropriate, since it was a comprehensive package. The judge has issued an order blocking the entire law from taking effect.

Voters approved the measure last month. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has argued that the state should embrace a government ethics commission that is part of the package.

The attorney general’s office is defending the law against a court challenge filed by Republican lawmakers and others.

Opponents contend that provisions including the ethics commission, public campaign funding and limitations on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers are unconstitutional.

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