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News Summary

'Local control' bill gaining momentum as statewide smoking ban smolders

Publication Date: 2007-03-04
  • Author:TODD DORMAN
  • Publication:The Courier

Iowa legislators reluctant to pass a statewide ban on smoking in public places instead may spark a city-by-city, barstool-by-barstool battle over where Iowans can legally light up.

And depending on where you sit, politicians are either opening the door to a healthy local debate or a brawl...

With the legislative session half over, it appears more likely that lawmakers will give local governments new power to enact tough, local smoking restrictions. That's authority the Iowa Supreme Court says cities and counties don't currently have.

Growing support for the so-called "local control" bill is pushing aside a dueling proposal that would ban public smoking statewide, although its backers have yet to throw in the towel.

"My sense is that it's tipping toward support for local control," said Susan Judkins, who lobbies lawmakers on behalf of the Iowa League of Cities. She said officials in a dozen cities are thinking about new smoking restrictions if lawmakers give them expanded power.