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Judge refuses secondhand smoke testimony in South Dakota issue

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A circuit judge has ruled that the American Cancer Society cannot present witnesses to testify on the dangers of secondhand smoke in a hearing that will decide whether the smoking ban passed by the South Dakota Legislature wil...

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A circuit judge has ruled that the American Cancer Society cannot present witnesses to testify on the dangers of secondhand smoke in a hearing that will decide whether the smoking ban passed by the South Dakota Legislature will be referred to a statewide vote.

Bars and casinos that oppose the ban collected signatures to force a public vote in the November 2010 election. Secretary of State Chris Nelson eventually rejected the petitions, ruling too few valid signatures were collected.

The ban's opponents then asked the circuit judge to order Nelson to reinstate some signatures and put the measure on the ballot.

The American Cancer Society argues the smoking ban cannot go to a public vote because it is necessary for the immediate preservation of public health.

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