Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard plans to veto a proposed ordinance that would expand the city’s public smoking ban, his spokesman confirmed Thursday.
The Indianapolis City-County Council on Jan. 30 voted 19-9 in favor of expanding the citywide ban to include bowling alleys, hotel rooms and most bars. Tobacco shops, hookah bars and over-18 private clubs would be exempted.
“As the Mayor has said since since it passed, this proposal does not meet his requirements,” communications director Marc Lotter said in an e-mail. “By law, he must return the proposal to the clerk of the City-County Council by Saturday. “
Ballard said he couldn’t support the proposal because it makes private clubs and fraternal organizations choose between allowing smoking on their premises or allowing patrons younger than 18 to enter.
The ordinance would pose a dilemma for not-for-profit groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which raises money through family-oriented and children’s events at VFW posts. Local American Legion posts are also opposed to the proposal.
The measure would need one more yes vote from the council to become veto-proof or it could be re-written.
Ballard said he would back the ban if the language about private clubs was rewritten.
Smoking-ban advocates said they aren’t happy with Ballard’s decision.
“Smoke Free Indy is strongly disappointed with Mayor Ballard's decision to veto Proposal 18,” the coalition said in a prepared statement Thursday. “We encourage the City-County Council to keep working on behalf of the people of Indianapolis to pass the strongest law possible that protects employees and patrons in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.”