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Columbia, SC (AP) - South Carolina senators have given tentative approval to an ethics reform bill after trimming it to maintain the current system of legislators investigating their colleagues.

But prospects for its passage remain unclear.

The Senate gave a key "second reading" to the amended bill Thursday, but only after agreeing to allow debate on all other amendments before the required "third reading" that would send it back to the House.

The measure has been stripped of any changes to who handles ethics complaints.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin says senators could not reach any agreement regarding independent investigations of members. The Pickens Republican says he didn't want to see the whole effort die because of that issue, which has been the stumbling block since last year.