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News Summary

Group files challenge to new R.I. smoking ban

Publication Date: 3/29/2005
  • Author:SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
  • Publication:Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin
A group of bar and restaurant owners sued the state today, saying that the new smoking ban is unconstitutional because it unfairly exempts a number of businesses.

The new state law exempts a number of small neighborhood pubs, nonprofit organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, and the state's two gambling parlors.

Filed in Superior Court, Newport, the lawsuit claims that there is no logical reason to exempt some facilities while prohibiting smoking in others.

Exempting ``substantially identical public places,'' the lawsuit says, ``is arbitrary and bears no reasonable relationship [to] the promotion of the public health and welfare or any other permissible state objective.''