Minnehaha County and ballot question committee Dakotans for Health have finally settled the lawsuit that resulted in an injunction of the county’s attempt to ban petitioners from most of the grounds of Minnehaha County government offices last spring. Minnehaha County has proposed and Dakotans for Health has accepted a policy that would ban petition circulators (and, we would assume, for the sake of First Amendment fairness) from only a small portion of the sidewalk immediately outside the well-trafficked west entrance of the Minnehaha County administration building:
As part of the agreement, Minnehaha County will formulate a new public use policy that removes references to a designated area for petition circulators and also removes language requiring circulators to check in with the county auditor before engaging in political activity on the central Sioux Falls campus.
Dakotans for Health agreed to keep petition circulators away from the area directly in front of the administration building’s main entrance doors and also away from an area a few feet west of the entrance so they don’t interfere with people with disabilities getting in and out of vehicles. The group also agreed not to “commence any new action or lawsuit” regarding the county’s policy as long as the prescribed changes are made.
The settlement agreement was signed by Dakotans for Health executive director Rick Weiland and Minnehaha County Commission chairperson Jean Bender [Stu Whitney, “Petition-Gathering Group Reaches Settlement with Minnehaha County,” South Dakota News Watch, 2023.11.21].
The policy evidently says you can’t stand around talking right in front of the admin building’s west doors or in front of the handicapped parking spaces immediately in front of and to the north of those doors. Of course, the policy doesn’t mark off the access spaces for parkers, or the parking spaces themselves, so I suppose the radical anti-democracy fundagelicals trying to stop people from signing the Roe v Wade amendment petition could lie down in the parking spaces and cry out for divine intervention….