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News Summary

Smoking fires up

Publication Date: 2005-02-13
  • Author:John Harrington
  • Publication:Helena (MT) Independent Record

It took a month, but the issue of smoking finally surfaced this week in the Legislature.

First to hit was a bill from Rep. Tim Dowell, D-Kalispell, to ban smoking in all enclosed spaces open to the public across the state. This bill would eliminate the argument that local ordinances are unfair because people will just drive to a neighboring jurisdiction where they can smoke inside.

But that won't quiet those who argue that property rights are at the heart of the issue, and that business owners should be allowed to operate as they like with minimal government interference.

Friday, Rep. Bob Bergren, R-Havre, introduced a bill that would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing a smoking ordinance against businesses that have gambling licenses.

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