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News Summary

Judges give voters say on smoking initiatives

Publication Date: 9/9/2006
  • Author:Sean Whaley and Annette Wells
  • Publication:Las Vegas Review-Journal

But Question 5's ban won't include motel, hotel rooms

The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday elected to let voters decide in November whether they want to enact tough anti-smoking restrictions in bars, supermarkets and restaurants.

In a 6-1 decision made public Friday, the court upheld the smoking restrictions of ballot Question 5, called the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act.

In upholding the ballot initiative, however, the court rejected a provision added by Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox to include all motel and hotel rooms in the smoking ban, a restriction supporters of the proposal said they had not sought to include in the measure.

The court found that the challenge to the ballot initiative was premature. "Attacks based on the alleged unconstitutionality of the measure, if it were passed, are not appropriate for pre-election review," the court stated.

But Chief Justice Bob Rose said in separate comments that he was concerned by what he called misleading information about the effect of the measure on "stand-alone bars." Anyone who signed the petition would have to work to find out that a "stand-alone bar" is defined as an establishment not licensed to serve food, Rose said.

Despite backers' claims that bars would be exempt from the smoking ban, under the definition in the petition most stand-alone bars would be covered by the smoking prohibition, Rose said.