SD Smoking Ban Gets Its Day In Court This Week

smoking ban

South Dakotans could knowthe fate of the statewide smoking ban by the end of the week. Both sides of the ban will be heading to Pierre Thursday to dispute the nearly ten thousand petition signatures that were thrown out, keeping the issue off next November’s ballot.

In July supporters of the smoking ban were able to get the Secretary of State to throw out nearly ten thousand names on the petition turned in by opponents of the ban. Bar and casino owners across South Dakota filed a lawsuit to challenge the decision.

Thursday is their day in court and they are prepared to call up to 20 witnesses to defend the signatures and names that were tossed.

A two day trial has been scheduled for Thursday and Friday to decide which signatures should stay and which ones should go.

“We don’t think we’ve done anything wrong, there’s some question about the notary seals and stuff like that, we’re going to let the judge decide,” Sioux Falls bar owner Don Rose said.

Some of the people who notarized the petition sheets didn’t write down the correct expiration date, invalidating all of the signatures on the sheet. That’s going to be a major part of the trial and the attorney for the bar and casino owners is prepared to call some of those notaries as witnesses to validate those signatures.

Don Rose is one of the bar owners named on the lawsuit, and he says this trial is critical to business in South Dakota because a smoking ban like this could hurt bars, restaurants and casinos.

“If what every state is telling us, that they’re down, they’ve lost camel cigaretts and throughout the years 25 to 30 percent. If I take a 25 to 30 percent hit I’m in trouble,” Rose said.

Supporters of the smoking ban say the trial is important to the health of South Dakotans and are looking forward to settling the issue in court.

“Really what we can do is hope the state makes the best case possible, the Secretary of State and Attorney General, who are really defending our position in this situation. Just hope they make the best case possible and the judge agrees, and the will of the legislature, and the governor, and the people will go into effect finally,” Darrin Smith of the American Heart Association said.

But, there is a possibility the case won’t even go to trial. That’s because Thursday morning Judge Kathleen Trandahl will consider a motion by supporters of the ban. The motion says the issue can’t even be put on the ballot because its an immeadiate health concern and the smoking ban should be enacted right away.

Judge Trandahl will also consider a motion from opponents to rule on the case without a trial.

Depending on how she rules on those two motions South Dakotans could know the fate of the smoking ban by Thursday morning.


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