RAPID CITY, S.D. — Pennington County is revising its policy over where petitioners can solicit and gather signatures on the county’s campus.

The Pennington County Board of Commissioners directed the state attorney’s office Tuesday to draft a policy clarifying where petitioners can conduct their business, the Rapid City Journal reported .

The move comes after a commissioner requested a review of current policy, which orders petitioners to work outside the county’s courthouse and administration building unless “during periods of inclement weather.” Inclement weather is defined as “weather that is at or below freezing temperature or weather which is actively storming.”

But state’s attorney Jay Alderman said the definition of inclement weather is subjective and vague. He said it doesn’t account for wind chill or clearly define “actively storming.” Alderman also said it doesn’t provide guidance on what should be done once a storm ends. He added that the policy’s description of areas outside and inside the courthouse is outdated due to recent remodeling.

Seventh Circuit Court judge Craig Pfeifle said the policy’s subjectivity opened the county up to potential liability issues.

County Register of Deeds Donna Mayer said she’s against allowing petitioners inside the administration building because it has affected her employees.

Alderman proposed creating a more comprehensive policy that addresses activities such as solicitation, sales and petitioning. It would map out where such activities can or cannot be conducted on the county’s campus, as well as rewrite the definition of inclement weather.

Alderman has been directed to draft the policy for review at the commissioner’s April 3 meeting.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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