Pharmacy initiative supporters continue to seek spot on North Dakota ballot

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August 18, 2010

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BISMARK, North Dakota: The North Dakota Pharmacy Ownership Repeal Initiative was officially thrown out by Secretary of State Al Jaeger because of a missing list of sponsoring committee members.[1] But the disqualification from the 2010 ballot isn't stopping supporters from asking state officials to reconsider their decision.

The initiative proposed repealing North Dakota's pharmacy ownership law. The state law requires that pharmacists have a majority ownership of most North Dakota pharmacies. Initiative supporters were required to collect a minimum of 12,844 valid signatures by August 4. As of August 6, 2010, reports by the secretary of state's office stated that the proposed pharmacy initiative did not qualify for the ballot after all. After reviewing the filed signatures, it was determined that the initiative had exceeded the signature requirement by 91 signatures, however, supporters failed to submit a list of sponsoring committee members with the petition sheets. The committee list, according to officials, would withhold the measure from the ballot.[2]

On August 17 Bismarck physician Eric Thompson, chairman of the initiative campaign, submitted a letter to Jaeger as a request for Jaeger to reverse his decision and refer the measure to the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot. According to a report by the Associated Press, Jaeger said he would not discuss the filing until it was discussed further with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. Thompson argues that although state law requires the circulation of the entire petition, it does not explicitly require the sponsors list to be attached. In the letter, Thompson noted that the sponsor's list was "at most, a minor compliance issue."[3]

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