South Dakota judge to rule on legality of smoking ban referendum
PIERRE, South Dakota: Later this week Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl will be hearing and ruling on the legality of the proposed South Dakota Ban Referendum, which is expected to appear on the 2010 ballot. The measure, if approved, would ask voters to veto the expanded smoking ban that was set to begin July 1, 2009. The American Cancer Society is claiming that South Dakota’s expanded smoking-ban law can’t be referred to a public vote because it would violate the state constitution because "it is necessary for the immediate preservation of public health."
If the measure is approved for the ballot, the controversy regarding the number of valid submitted signatures will be discussed in court. Previously, Secretary of State Chris Nelson ruled that the group was short 221 signatures. A total of 25,400 petition signatures had been submitted. After an appeal by the group, the secretary of state further reviewed the signatures. Last week, he ruled that supporters are shy 61 signatures of the 16,776 minimum requirement to move the measure to the ballot.