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News Summary

RI retreats from hard-line stance on smoking ban

Publication Date: 3/8/2005
  • Author:SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
  • Publication: Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin
The Department of Health is backing down from a strict interpretation of the state's smoking ban that would have practically wiped away most exemptions to the new law.

The issue has been: when does a volunteer become an employee?

A few hundred small, nonprofit clubs, such as the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion, are exempt from the ban for the next 18 months as long as they meet certain requirements, including having 10 or fewer employees.

Lawmakers defined employee to include "a person who volunteers his or her services for a nonprofit entity," to prevent a club from circumventing the law by replacing all of its paid bartenders with volunteers.