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Smoking ban challenge rejected

Publication Date: 2009-07-23
  • Author:AP
  • Publication:Rapid City Journal

South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson on Thursday rejected petitions calling for a statewide vote a law that bans smoking in bars and casinos because not enough valid signatures were submitted.

Out of 25,400 signature lines, the referendum effort failed by 221 valid signatures, he said.

Nelson said he would likely formally notify the petition sponsors Monday. In the meantime, Attorney General Larry Long will research when the law will take effect.

However, either side can appeal the decision to a judge and eventually to the state Supreme Court. That means opponents of the smoking ban, who sought the vote, could still obtain a judge's order to overrule the secretary of state and put the measure on the ballot.

The Legislature passed a law earlier this year to ban smoking in bars, Deadwood casinos and video lottery establishments. The measure, extending a ban that has outlawed smoking in most workplaces and public areas since 2002, was to have taken effect July 1.

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