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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 7, July 2010, Posted On: 6/25/2010

Kansas Locations Challenge Statewide Smoking Ban

Marcus Webb

smoking ban, Kansas smoking ban, Shawnee County District Court, smoking ban opposition, taverns, jukebox location, smoker's rights, Downtown Bar and Grill

TOPEKA, KS -- A small coalition of locations filed a motion in an existing lawsuit in a Shawnee County District Court on June 18 to challenge Kansas's statewide smoking ban, which is due to take effect July 1. The ban, passed by the state Legislature on Feb. 25, applies to bars, restaurants and some private clubs.

The previous lawsuit against the state was filed by the Downtown Bar and Grill in Tonganoxie. It challenges certain provisions regulating smoking in private clubs. The coalition's June 18 motion petitions the court in that case, presided over by District Judge Franklin Theis, to strike down broader provisions of the ban that prohibit smoking in some venues but not others.

The coalition that is challenging the ban consists of a tavern chain and operators of pool halls and bingo parlors. The group's motion said the ban is unconstitutional because it exempts four state-owned casinos, which are in planning stages. The ban thus effectively pits the unequal power of government against private enterprise and denies equal protection of the law to selected businesses, the plaintiffs' attorneys said.

The judge will begin to hold hearings on the matter on June 29.

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