Court case against smoking ban dismissed

After Iowa’s public smoking ban went into effect on July 1, 2008, a group of bar owners filed a lawsuit claiming the new law was unconstitutional. Last summer a district court judge denied the plaintiffs’ request to put a stay on the law while the court case was pending, and last week a different judge dismissed the case, according to a press release from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

The Des Moines Register reported on May 12 that the case was dismissed after the bar owners decided to drop the lawsuit:

Brian Froehlich, of Wilton, is with the Iowa Bar Owners Coalition. He says the groups are redirecting their efforts and will support the bars that are going to court to protect their businesses.

It’s not clear from the Register’s story what the bar owners’ new legal strategy will be. I’m no attorney, but I would advise them to challenge the part of the Iowa Smokefree Air Act that exempts certain areas of casinos from the smoking ban. That seems unfair to other businesses in the hospitality industry that must comply with the ban. It also seems illogical until you remember that gambling interests have spent heavily on lobbyists and political donations to Iowa in recent years.  

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