HELENA — A measure to eliminate Montana’s Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices has passed a key vote on the House floor.
The House on Monday endorsed the bill by Republican Rep. Derek Skees of Kalispell on a 54-46 vote.
Five Republicans voted with Democrats to oppose the proposal to split oversight of the state’s campaign, ethics and lobbying laws between the secretary of state and the attorney general.
Skees argues the commissioner has grown too powerful and too partisan in recent years.
Democratic representatives say the office is independent and transparent. Rep. Tom Woods of Bozeman says if the problem is the perception of partisanship, the solution is not to turn the duties over to two offices that are inherently partisan.
The measure must pass a final vote in the House before it goes to the Senate.
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