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House kills bill prohibiting lawmaker spouses from lobbying

Kealey Bultena
South Dakota House of Representatives (file)

The South Dakota House has voted down a bill preventing a legislator's spouse from being a lobbyist.

Lawmakers killed Senate Bill 197 Monday on a 44 to 24 vote.

Opponents argued the bill targeted Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller, R-Rapid City. Her husband, Mike Mueller, is an unpaid lobbyist for South Dakota Citizens for Liberty. Both were involved in an incident with an LRC employee that resulted the Senate censuringFrye-Mueller.

Rep. Linda Duba, D-Sioux Falls, sponsored the bill. She said the bill was not targeting any specific legislator but closed an ethics loophole.

She said legislative staff sometimes don't know how to treat a legislative spouse who is also a lobbyist, as spouses have special access to the chambers that others do not.

The bill previously passed the Senate on a 22 to 13 vote.

The SDBA contributed to this report.

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