State won’t appeal smoking ban ruling

Attorney General Marty Jackley announced minutes ago that he and Secretary of State Chris Nelson have decided against appealing the decision of Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl in the smoking-ban referendum case. The American Cancer Society doesn’t plan to appeal either. That clears the way for the ban to be referred to a statewide vote on the November 2010 election ballot.

Attorney General Marty Jackley announced minutes ago that he and Secretary of State Chris Nelson have decided against appealing the decision of Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl in the smoking-ban referendum case. The American Cancer Society doesn’t plan to appeal either. That clears the way for the ban to be referred to a statewide vote on the November 2010 election ballot. The ban would be an expansion of South Dakota’s current law prohibiting smoking in public buildings, most businesses and most places of employment. The Legislature approved the expanded ban last winter, seeking to prohibit smoking in bars, casinos and restaurants with alcohol licenses. Those businesses can continue to allow smoking until voters decide whether to approve or reject the Legislature’s action. The cancer society worked for the Legislature’s passage of the expanded ban. Four businessmen from the liquor and gambling sectors then sponsored the petition drive for the referendum. Secretary of State Nelson originally decided after a 5 percent compliance check of signatures that they had gathered sufficient signatures to meet the 16,776 minimum necessary. The cancer society filed a challenge. After reviewing the cancer society’s challenge, Nelson reversed his decision and said the petitioners were short. The petitioners then filed a lawsuit challenging Nelson’s decision. A two-day trial last week ended in Judge Trandahl ruling that several thousand signatures were indeed valid, giving the petitioners more than enough to make the ballot. An appeal to the state Supreme Court likely would have taken months to complete and would have been costly. Judge Trandahl applied the Supreme Court’s standard of “substantial compliance” in reaching her decision. In announcing their decision today to not initiate an appeal, Attorney General Jackley in a written statement said, “The Court’s decision that the Secretary of State correctly applied a strict compliance standard when reviewing the validity of signatures on petitions was a factor in the state’s decision.”

source: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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