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News Summary

State lawmakers reach smoking-ban deal

Publication Date: 5/7/2009
  • Author:Amy Olson and DJ Slater
  • Publication:Wausau (WI) Daily Herald

Almost every Wisconsin workplace, including all bars and restaurants, would be required to go smoke-free under a compromise reached Wednesday by state legislators.

Bill supporters agreed to delay implementation until July 5, 2010, so that bars would have time to prepare for the change. They also agreed to exempt the handful of existing cigar bars and all tobacco retail shops. In addition, the ban would not apply to Wisconsin casinos because the Indian tribes who run them are sovereign nations.

"No legislation is perfect. No compromise will satisfy everyone," said Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, who wrote the Senate's bill. The agreement will achieve the ultimate goal of saving lives and saving taxpayer money, he said.

Smokers would be fined $100 to $250 for lighting up in businesses covered by the ban. Employees and business owners who fail to attempt to stop someone from smoking could be fined $200.