HELENA – The Montana Senate has endorsed a bill that would limit corporate campaign finance spending after changing the measure to allow news media outlets to continue publishing editorials during election season.

The measure would make it illegal for corporations to make independent expenditures that advocate for or against a candidate or to fund any electioneering communications.

Republican Sen. Chas Vincent of Libby amended Senate Bill 320 to add newspaper editorials and commentaries as exemptions to the bill’s restrictions.

Opponents of the bill maintain the measure is unconstitutional because it violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that corporations are protected by free speech rights and can spend money to influence elections.

The bill passed 26-24 Tuesday and must pass a final vote before moving on to the House.

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