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Kentucky smoking ban is cloudy issue

Publication Date: 2014-01-27
  • Author: Bailey Loosemore - Louisville Courier-Journal
  • Publication:Cincinnati.com

The recent decision by the Bullitt County Fiscal Court to ban smoking in county-owned buildings prompted a new question in the county’s long debate over smoking: Does the ban repeal a 2011 Bullitt Board of Health regulation that prohibits smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants?

Elected officials in the suburban Louisville county say it does repeal the 2011 ban, but health officials contend it does not.

Now that question will be decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court, which is already considering whether the Bullitt Board of Health had the power to enact the smoking ban.

Bullitt Fiscal Court and the eight cities within the county filed a lawsuit in 2011 to overturn the smoking ban, claiming the Board of Health did not have the right to implement a ban.

Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress agreed, stopping the ban before it could take effect. But the state Court of Appeals overturned Burress’ ruling, saying the Board of Health has the authority to impose regulations involving public health, including a smoking ban.

Bullitt Fiscal Court appealed that decision a year ago, and the outcome is pending before the state Supreme Court.

While waiting for a ruling that could be years away, fiscal court passed its narrower smoking ban Jan. 15 – an ordinance that also repeals all “administrative regulations” inconsistent with it, including the 2011 smoking ban..