People Ban: SD State Fight

South Dakota

The Senate Local Government Committee has defeated a bill six-to-two that would have allowed South Dakota cities and counties to regulate smoking.

Senate Committee Snuffs Smoking Bill


The Senate Local Government Committee has defeated a bill six-to-two that would have allowed South Dakota cities and counties to regulate smoking.

The bill would have allowed local governments to set stricter standards than the state on tobacco use, distribution, marketing and sales.

Senator Stan Adelstein of Rapid City says the bill should have gone to the full Senate for consideration and revision.

Senator Mike Broderick of Canton says lawmakers spent more than enough time on the issue.

The state government will remain the only government in South Dakota that can regulate tobacco.???

Proposed smoking ban sparks debate at crackerbarrel session

January 22. 2005
By Jomay Steen, Journal Staff Writer

RAPID CITY – South Dakota bars and restaurants shouldn’t throw out their ashtrays just yet.

If the political debate over HB1075 – a bill introduced into the 2005 Legislature to further restrict smoking in public places – is anything like Saturday’s legislative crackerbarrel session in Rapid City, there is a fight brewing.

Rep. Tom Hennies, R-Rapid City, opposes the bill. He said business owners take the risks of opening a bar or restaurant, running the business and hiring people – then the Legislature dictates the customers’ behavior.

“I don’t think we have the right to tell him who his customers could be,” Hennies said. “The owners, they take all of the risks, and we make all of the rules.”

Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, disagreed.

“He’s wrong on this issue,” Adelstein said of Hennies.

Adelstein said the state governs businesses’ water quality, food quality and ensures that the roof above the patrons’ heads doesn’t fall down. A smoking ban falls into the same category, he said.

“We need to protect people from second-hand smoke, including those who work in bars and restaurants,” Adelstein said.

Rep. Alice McCoy, R-Rapid City, clarified that the bill would exempt hotel and motel rooms from the smoking ban. McCoy also said that government often has to cover the costs of the ill-effects of smoking.

“Smokers do damage,” she said.

The Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee welcomed a dozen legislators to its first crackerbarrel of the 2005 session.

About 150 people showed up to ask questions and listen to reports about the session.

Mike DeMersseman of Rapid City wanted to hear legislators’ opinions.

“It’s always interesting,” DeMersseman said of the crackerbarrel. “You see more committee members here than you would at Pierre, and it’s an opportunity for us to hear our representatives’ opinions and each other.”

Sen. J.P. Duniphan, R-Rapid City, said the 40-day session had gotten off to a slow start with only 80 Senate bills and 92 House bills introduced so far.

“We’re expecting 500 bills in the upcoming weeks,” she said.

Some of those bills will be prompted by federal mandates, legislators said.

Rep. Gordon Pederson, R-Wall, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said regulations for commercial driver’s licenses will have to be changed to meet those mandates.

For example, he said the federal Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act stipulates that background checks of people applying for commercial driver’s licenses must be made.

If South Dakota does not comply by enacting new commercial driver’s license laws, the federal government will withhold highway funds of $6 million the first year and as much as $11 million the second year, Pederson said.

“It’s something we’re stuck with,” he said.

A member of the audience, Tom Katus of Rapid City, voiced concern and frustration about HB1085 and HB1086, two bills introduced this session that he said would suppress American Indians’ rights to vote.

“It makes the voting process a burden to Indians,” Katus said.

HB1085 would prohibit paying someone or being paid to register voters, based on the numbers of voters registered. It would not prohibit paying or being paid by the hour or being salaried to register voters.

HB1086 would require people who register voters to inform those voters how they can check with their county auditors to make sure they are registered.

In recent elections, particularly South Dakota’s U.S. Senate elections in 2002 and 2004, charges of improper voter registration were made, many of them involving Indians.

Hennies didn’t see HB1086 as a barrier to Indians exercising their right to vote, but rather, as a way to eliminate problems in registering voters.

He said Indian reservations have had problems with voter registration, but so has Rapid City. If the bill becomes a law, there would be no reward for registering a certain amount of people.

“You can’t pay a bounty for registering voters,” he said.

In HB1086, anyone registering voters would have to be able to tell those registering how to contact their auditor. New voters could then check with auditors to ensure that their voter registration cards have been properly filed, he said.

Katus called the bills “cookie-cutter bills” and labeled them as attempts to keep Indians out of the election process.

“Then, we rationalize why we’re doing it, and that’s crap,” he said.

Additional crackerbarrels are planned from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday Jan. 29, Feb. 12 and 26 in the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s Classroom Building.

Contact Jomay Steen at 394-8418 or

Letter: Second-Hand Smoke

Feb. 7, 2005
By: Barbara J. Stahlecker, Yankton

This letter is in response to the letter from Dave Johnson of Arlington, Texas (Press & Dakotan, Feb. 2).

I’m tired of non-smokers pushing their agenda using “facts” that aren’t “facts” at all. While I agree that smoking is harmful to the smoker, I don’t agree — based on scientific research — that second-hand smoke is harmful to anyone. This has become such a theme in our society that most people take it as gospel, without ever doing any research.

As a former California resident who fled the state, I can attest that anyone in Los Angeles regularly breathes in more carcinogens every day than a non-smoker in the same room with a smoker. The anti-smoking hoopla is another example of one segment of society pushing its agenda on another segment. I smoke, and it’s my problem. While others may not like the smell, I am NOT affecting anyone’s health other than my own.

Mr. Johnson emphatically states that “ambient tobacco smoke kills 65,000 innocent Americans every year.” I don’t know everyone, but I have never encountered someone who died as a result of second-hand smoke. I have never even encountered someone who got lung cancer as a result of second-hand smoke. I have, however, encountered LOTS of people who are convinced that I’m killing them slowly by spending five minutes in the same room with them while I smoke.

Many people don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke, so they don’t want ANYONE to smoke ANYWHERE they might be. It bugs them. So, I think we should ban Estee Lauder perfume — I’m offended by the smell. I’m also offended by people who don’t bathe once a day, people who work around cows and smell like them, men who wear Brut, the smell of lamb cooking and folks who don’t use deodorant but should.

Or maybe, when I encounter those smells that I don’t like, I’ll just move away from them. Wow! What a great idea!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.