South Dakota Editorial RoundupDelaying the inevitable with South Dakota’s smoking vote We are only delaying the inevitable by referring the July 1 smoking ban to voters. There’s little doubt that the public supports the ban passed by this year’s Legislature, which was to become effective July 1.
Delaying the inevitable with South Dakota’s smoking vote
We are only delaying the inevitable by referring the July 1 smoking ban to voters.
There’s little doubt that the public supports the ban passed by this year’s Legislature, which was to become effective July 1. When the issue is decided at the polls in 2010, voters are expected to resoundingly support banning smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants and video lottery establishments.
What the petition drive now under way does, is simply delay the ban.
The petition drive coordinator said that more than enough signatures have already been gathered to force a vote. The petitions are expected to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office and the issue will appear on the ballot in November 2010, providing there are enough valid signatures.
We argued that while smoke-free environments are great for people who don’t smoke, the decision of whether or not an establishment or business is smoke-free should be left to the proprietor. We believed growing public distaste for smoking would compel even the most ardent “smoking allowed” proprietors to rethink their continued mixing of smoking and nonsmoking sections. The greenback would determine the outcome.
Since a 2008 scientific survey showed 65 percent of South Dakotans support a smoking ban in bars, restaurants and gaming establishments, there’s little chance that smokers will prevail.
Smoking in many businesses and public buildings was banned by state law in 2002 and is prohibited in most places of employment and indoor public areas. It is currently allowed in lodging places, businesses where alcohol is served and businesses primarily used for the sale of tobacco or alcoholic beverages.
At least 24 states - including Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana - have comprehensive statewide smoke-free laws. And the debate seems over about the health dangers of secondhand smoke.
That means it is time for South Dakotans to give up the fight, the battle has ready been lost.
Aberdeen American News
Expansion of military airspace is good for state
The skies above the Dakotas could see an increase in military activity if the U.S. Air Force proceeds with a proposal to increase the air space it uses for training exercises. The Air Force wants to quadruple the amount of air space it uses for training exercises with its B-1 and B-52 bombers stationed in the Dakotas. At present, the Powder River Training Complex, centered just northwest of where South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana meet, spans about 6,000 square miles. The space can accommodate only one or two bombers at a time, so some B-1B Lancers from South Dakota’s Ellsworth Air Force Base and B-52 Stratofortress bombers from North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base have had to fly as far as Nevada for their combat exercises.
Several years ago, Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City was on a base closing list prepared by the Pentagon. But thanks to an effort by South Dakota’s congressional delegation, the governor’s office and private and civic officials in Rapid City, the closing was averted and Ellsworth was spared. Part of the selling point in that effort was that Ellsworth’s mission was going to expand and become an even more important part of the nation’s military presence.
If the proposed increase in air space is approved, pilots can save up to 90 minutes flying to places like Nevada so they can train. Eliminating that time would not only increase training opportunities closer to home but would likely result in a cost savings because the extra time and expense of flying 90 minutes to a training location would be eliminated.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has said the expansion would help keep Ellsworth among the Air Force’s elite bases and well positioned to attract new missions.
We agree with Thune. Once that is done, Ellsworth’s status as an important military base, and an important part of South Dakota’s economic base, will be further strengthened.
Watertown Public Opinion