Supporters of a stronger Indianapolis public smoking ban cleared their first hurdle Tuesday night.
The City-County Council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee voted 6-2 in favor of the stronger ban. The proposal could be voted on by the full council at its April 16 meeting.
Councilors Angela Mansfield, John Barth and Pamela Hickman, sponsors of the proposal, think the version they’ve introduced will have a better chance of gaining Mayor Greg Ballard’s approval.
Ballard snuffed out the council's last attempt at a stronger ban when he vetoed the proposed ordinance Feb. 11.
The new proposal is nearly identical to the last measure except that it no longer bans smoking at existing private clubs. New private clubs, those founded after April 1, would have to go smoke-free.
The 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 have been exempted. The bipartisan vote fell one short of being veto-proof.
Ballard, however, said he couldn’t support the proposal because it made private clubs and fraternal organizations, including military-veterans groups, choose between allowing smoking on their premises or allowing patrons younger than 18 to enter. The ordinance, he said, posed an unfair 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.
The new proposal does not include Speedway, Lawrence, Beech Grove or Southport. It also added an exemption for downtown's off-track betting parlor.