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House rejects bill to include hookah lounges in smoking ban

Publication Date: 2013-03-05
  • Author:Bob Mercer
  • Publication:Rapid City Journal-

A bill that would have have included hookah lounges in a statewide smoking ban was narrowly rejected Tuesday by the House of Representatives.

The legislation would have added a definition of smoking that is missing from South Dakota’s laws that bans smoking in bars, casinos and restaurants with alcohol licenses.

Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, said that a legal battle between Ifrit’s Hookah Lounge and the city of Rapid City should be resolved before the Legislature weighs in.

House members voted 36-33 against the measure. It had previously passed in the Senate.

The issue became convoluted last week after a House committee carved out an exception for hookah lounges that were in business before Jan. 1, 2013.

“This is a bad amendment. It opens up a large exemption in the law,” Rep. Scott Craig, R-Rapid City, said Tuesday.

State law already provides a similar exception for cigar bars, said Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton.

Nelson said the committee carefully considered the facts, and the private-property rights of the Ifrit’s owners should be respected...

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