Judge halts government ethics overhaul measure


PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota judge has put on hold a government ethics overhaul approved by voters last month.

Circuit Judge Mark Barnett on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction at the request of a group of two dozen Republican lawmakers and others who filed a lawsuit against the state to block it.

Foes of the measure contend that provisions of the law including an ethics commission, public campaign funding and limitations on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers run afoul of the state or federal constitutions - or both.

Attorneys representing the state and sponsors of the ballot measure argued against the decision, saying that the measure is constitutional. Barnett's decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.