After the Grand Forks City Council’s majority vote to strenghthen the local smoke-free law on April 5th, the local bar owners have decided to refer the new ordinance to a ballot by gathering signatures on petitions. By virtue of the City of Grand Fork’s Home Rule Charter, any ordinance enacted by the City Council can be referred to a vote of the people through the gathering of signatures on circulated petitions within 30 days. This gives the bar owners in GF until May 6th.
The number of signatures that the bar owners will need is determined by the number of residents of the City of Grand Forks that voted in the last gubernatorial election (November of 2008). The Home Rule Charter states that in order to refer, the Committee of Petitioners needs to collect signatures from 15% of the number of voters from the November 2008 election. By record, this equals 3,805 signatures.
The Grand Forks Tobacco Free Coalition will be monitoring the progress of the petitions, but a survey conducted by the Social Science Research Institute at the University of North Dakota indicated that the support in the community for strengthening the local ordinance is very strong.
The voice of the community has spoken, and the Grand Forks City Council decided to listen.