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Bill to restore smoking in Nebraska cigar bars makes it out of committee

Publication Date: 2015-01-28
  • Author:Martha Stoddard
  • Publication:Omaha World-Herald

Cigar smokers got a step closer to again being able to light up in specially licensed bars.The Legislature's General Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill making exceptions to the statewide smoking ban for cigar bars and tobacco retail outlets.

Legislative Bill 118, sponsored by State Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill, responds to a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling last year that snuffed out smoking in both types of places.

The court ruled last summer that the cigar bar and tobacco retail outlet exemptions amounted to unconstitutional special legislation. The ruling did not take effect until earlier this month, after the state asked for a rehearing in the case.

Larson said he has checked with a constitutional law expert and believes the new bill would withstand a legal challenge, if one were to be brought.

LB 118 adds language further spelling out legislative intent.

As proposed, it says that allowing smoking in cigar shops and tobacco retail outlets would not interfere with the goals of protecting the public and employees from secondhand smoke.

It said employees have "ample other opportunities for similar employment" and the public should expect secondhand smoke in a cigar shop and could choose to avoid such exposure...

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