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House votes to restore rules for election ads

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Independent spending on election-timed billboards, mass mailings and phone banks could soon require disclosure in West Virginia.

The House of Delegates narrowly approved a Senate-passed measure Friday updating the state's election advertising rules.

The legislation applies to ads not already covered by rules for candidates and party or political action committees. These independent ads must refer to a candidate for state-level or legislative office. They must also appear within 30 days before a primary or 60 days of a general election.

A legal challenge prompted a U.S. district judge to strike down disclosure for anything except broadcast or print ads. But the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed parts of that ruling in January.

Friday's 52-47 vote followed GOP arguments that such rules stifle political speech.


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