Lawmakers Debating Smoking Ban Exemption
Publication Date: 2009-03-22
- Author:Todd Unger
- Publication:KPTM Fox 42
It's a problem state Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha wants to see solved. "Nebraskan's are very fair minded people. Even people who're in favor of the smoking ban never thought it'd affect cigar bars," he says. The lawmaker has proposed legislation that would exempt certain bars if 15 percent of their revenue came from tobacco sales.
Nebraska's statewide smoking ban for bars and restaurants goes into effect later this year. Metro area cigar bars have already had to go smoke free because the Nebraska Supreme Court outlawed a local ordinance that would've allowed them, along with some other types of bars, an exemption.
Lautenbaugh says LB-355 would only apply to the state's handful of cigar bars impacted by that decision, like Jake's But anti-smoking advocates like the Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition already smell a loophole. "Anyone could do that. You could have a restaurant that offers cigars just to become a cigar bar and jump through that threshold," says president Vickie Young.