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News Summary

Court Rules Health Boards Can Pass Smoking Bans

Publication Date: 12/9/2012
  • Author:Al Cross and Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
  • Publication:weku

In Kentucky's first appellate-court ruling on the issue, the state Court of Appeals today upheld the Bullitt County Board of Health's smoking ban, which is virtually the same as others enacted by several other county health boards. However, the panel's 2-1 vote and the strength of the dissent suggests that the ruling will be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Health boards in Clark, Hopkins, Madison and Woodford counties have enacted smoking bans. The Hopkins County ban was upheld by the local circuit judge, whose ruling was not appealed. (Courier-Journal video story on smoking in Bullitt County bars)

In Bullitt County, the fiscal court and eight towns sued to stop the ban four days before it was to take effect last year. Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress ruled that the board lacked authority to ban smoking in public places, but the appeals court said the General Assembly had clearly given county health boards the power to impose regulations protecting public health, that secondhand smoke is a public-health issue, and that the board's regulation is reasonable, because it is virtually the same as an ordinance upheld in Lexington...

To read the seven-page majority opinion and the eight-page dissent, click here.