Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride proponents sue to avert fluoridation revote in Davis County

Source: Deseret News | August 15th, 2002 | by Brady Snyder
Location: United States, Utah

FARMINGTON ÷ Fluoride proponents filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to stop a fluoride revote this fall.

The suit by members of Utahns for Better Dental Health names the Davis County Commission and the county clerk/auditor as defendants.

“We’re seeking an injunction to stop the county clerk from putting it on the ballot,” said David Irvine, attorney for the Davis County chapter of Utahns for Better Dental Health.

The suit names each individual commissioner and Davis County clerk/auditor Steve Rawlings.

The suit, filed in 2nd District Court, follows the commission’s decision earlier this month to allow a November revote on water fluoridation based on a citizen initiative signed by 9,650 residents.

“We’re not arguing the pros and cons of fluoridation. That’s a decision of the health department. We’re responding to 9,650 people who signed the petition,” commissioner Michael Cragun said.

The commission’s legal counsel said the initiative met legal requirements for the process.

However, Davis County’s chapter of Utahns for Better Dental Health, a pro-fluoride group that pushed to have the issue on the ballot the first time around in 2000, maintains the initiative is legally flawed.

The initiative should be subject to referendum law, not initiative law, the lawsuit states. As a referendum, fluoride opponents needed to file the referendum within 35 days of the November 2000 vote, in which Davis County voters elected to fluoridate their water, 52 percent to 48 percent.

Utahns for Better Dental Health argues in its lawsuit that the voters of Davis County were acting as a legislative body when they voted to adopt a law requiring fluoride to be added to the water.

In order to overturn a law, a referendum is needed instead of an initiative, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit is asking for declaratory judgment and an injunction as well as attorney fees.

“We expected that they were going to take some action and now we’ll take it to the county attorney’s office and let them decide how to proceed,” Cragun said.

County Commission attorney Gerald Hess said last week the initiative is in fact subject to initiative law and county voters cannot act as a legislative body as described in referendum law.