South Dakota - petition rejected - state smoking ban to take effect..

July 24, 2009 - Secretary of State Chris Nelson has rejected petitions calling for a statewide vote on the smoking ban because not enough valid signatures were submitted.

The opponents of the smoking ban turned in more than 25-thousand signatures. They needed nearly 17-thousand and after the Secretary of State's office went through them all they came up 221 signatures short. Nelson said he will give formal notification of the petition failure to its sponsors early next week.

Erik Gaikowski works for the American Cancer Society who says what catapulted this effort to victory, was the public support. "There was a number of lawmakers who stood up on both floors of the Senate and House that said 'I'm voting for this because my constituents want it.' "

On the other side, the smoking ban opponents are disappointed with the outcome and have not decided yet whether or not to appeal the decision and take the smoking ban issue to court, which would be their last resort.

Chris Nelson said it is now in the Attorney General's hands to determine when the smoking ban will take effect. Nelson: "The Attorney General Larry Long is looking at that question, because this is brand new territory. The law is not specific on that and I know he will take the time that he needs to make sure he gets the answer to that question."

References: Petition Rejected, Smoking Ban Set To Take Effect by Chuck Harmer,, 7/24/2009; Smoking ban clears big hurdle Not enough valid signatures in petition challenge; Next step: Possible lawsuit on initiative rejection, Peter Harriman,, 7/24/2009.

Related news briefs: South Dakota - Secretary of State's Office still counting disputed signatures on the smoking ban petitions..; South Dakota - anti-smoking leaders challenge petition..; South Dakota - smoking ban to start July 1, 2009 may be delayed..; South Dakota - opponents try to stop extended smoking ban..; South Dakota - extends smoking ban effective July 1, 2009...

Click on image to enlarge; congratulations South Dakota..