House speaker pursues campaign finance, tech school measures

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota's House speaker plans to pursue ballot measures to raise tobacco taxes for technical schools and ban out-of-state political contributions to ballot question campaigns.

It's an unorthodox move for the highest-ranking House lawmaker, but Mark Mickelson has proven unpredictable since joining the Legislature in 2013.

The Sioux Falls Republican this week formed a ballot question committee for the out-of-state donation ban and says he hopes to start gathering signatures for both measures in August.

A similar contribution cap bill failed in the Legislature this year, and Mickelson says the Republican-held chambers are unlikely to support a tobacco tax increase. The 51-year-old businessman says that he concluded that the ideas would attract public support even if he couldn't get fellow lawmakers to pass them.

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