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News Summary

Smoking ban exemption for bars passes House

Publication Date: 2005-02-22
  • Author:Chelsi Moy
  • Publication:Montana Standard

The House decided Monday that Montana's bars and casinos should be exempt from local smoking ordinances.

In a lengthy debate, the House voted 58-42 in favor of a bill that seeks to prohibit local governments from regulating smoking in bars and casinos. Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, sponsored House Bill 661, and argued it would provide uniformity in an industry that is not currently regulated.

Casinos and bars are at risk of losing profits if they are subject to a local smoking ordinance, he said.

A conflicting bill that would implement a statewide smoking ban in all indoor public facilities -- including bars and casinos -- remains stuck in committee after a tie vote Friday. The sponsor of the smoking ban bill, Rep. Tim Dowell, D-Kalispell, strongly opposed HB661 Monday.

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