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News Summary

State court will decide legality of smoking ban

Publication Date: 2006-08-29
  • Author:Chad Lawhorn
  • Publication:Lawrence Journal-World

Kansas Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments by opponent of Lawrence’s 2-year-old law.

The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments by Lawrence bar owner Dennis Steffes that the city’s 2-year-old smoking ban violates the state’s constitution.

Meanwhile, city leaders said the ban would continue to be enforced.

“We vigorously will defend the ordinance,” Interim City Manager David Corliss said Monday...

Steffes also has argued that the Lawrence law illegally supersedes state law. Steffes interprets the state law as only allowing governments to require businesses to provide smoke-free areas, but says it does not allow a city to completely ban smoking within a business.

City attorneys, though, have argued the ban is constitutional and provides specific instructions. The ban doesn’t supersede state law, they argue, because state law specifically allows local governments to pass ordinances more stringent than state law. City attorneys also note the Lawrence ban does not prohibit smoking in outdoor dining areas of a business.