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West Virginia drops appeal in petition case

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September 30, 2009


CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Last week the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) opted to no longer pursue an appeal against a June 2009 ruling involving circulating petitions in state parks.[1] According to DNR officials both sides "agreed to the action" in June 2009 - that the state's requirements were unconstitutional.

In June, the Division of Natural Resources argued that solicitation in state parks should only be allowed after receiving written permission from the state. U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey ruled that the state's argument was unconstitutional. The issue first appeared in court after the Rutherford Institute, in 2008, intended to circulate a petition at a National Hunting and Fishing event at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park and was denied access. The institute filed a law suit, on behalf of the Constitution Party of West Virginia, against the state citing a violation of the West Virginia Constitution.[2]

According to the judge's ruling DNR is required to pay $462 in costs and $37,769 in attorney fees.

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* Laws governing direct democracy in West Virginia