It's official. South Dakota's smoking ban is in effect as of 12:01 A.M. Wednesday morning.
The state's smoking ban has been a hot button issue for years, and getting this law in the books has been a process. In 2002 a smoking ban was passed in South Dakota which included many indoor businesses, but bars, casinos, and restaurants were exempt from that ban. Then in 2009 South Dakota legislators passed a law to extend the smoking ban to the bars, restaurants, and casinos. Before the law went into effect on July 1st 2009 opponents filed a petition with thousands of signatures to keep the law from taking effect until the public could vote on it. Then the validity of the signatures was challenged and it came down to Secretary of State Chris Nelson to decide if the petitioners did in fact have enough valid signatures. After analyzing each signature Secretary Nelson said they did and then his decision was taken to a judge who ultimately ruled the petitioners did in fact have over 2,000 more valid signatures than required to take the issue to a public vote. That vote happened on November 2nd, when voters overwhelmingly passed the measure 64 percent to 36 percent.
South Dakota is joining 28 other states that are smoke free. The states closest to home are Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and Nebraska.
With the ban in effect it means smoking is no longer allowed in bars, video lottery establishments, restaurants, and casinos. When it comes to enforcing the law police say they'll investigate violations after they get a complaint. If they find someone smoking inside a bar,casino, or restaurant they'll get a $25 dollar fine. If management at that bar, restaurant, or casino is found guilty of letting someone smoke they will be getting a $25 dollar fine as well.
Several bar and restaurant owners we spoke with say they will be looking into outdoor options where people can smoke.
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