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Cigar bar bill OK, Bruning opinion says

Publication Date: 2009-04-16
  • Author:Paul Hammel
  • Publication:Omaha World-Herald

No legal issues should snuff out a bill that would exempt cigar bars from Nebraska's smoking ban, says a legal opinion issued by the attorney general Thursday.

Two opponents of the bill, state Sens. Bill Avery of Lincoln and Mike Gloor of Grand Island, requested the legal opinion after a former chief justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, Norman Krivosha, said the bill appeared to be unconstitutional special legislation.

Krivosha cited a state Supreme Court decision in which it was ruled that an exemption for keno bars from Omaha's smoking ban was unconstitutional because it benefited one entity.

But Thursday's opinion from Attorney General Jon Bruning's office rejected that argument and another by Gloor -- that the definition of cigar bars in Legislative Bill 355 was unconstitutionally vague.

LB 355 has advanced through two votes and awaits a final round of debate, which might be held as soon as tomorrow.

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