City Government and Local Government and Smoking Ban and City-County Council and Government & Economic Development and Government and Public Safety

City-County Council OKs new smoking-ban proposal

April 16, 2012

The City-County Council voted 20-9 Monday night to approve another proposal that would strengthen Indianapolis' public smoking ban.

The council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee voted 6-2 in favor of the stronger ban earlier in the month.

Councilors Angela Mansfield, John Barth and Pamela Hickman, sponsors of the proposal, think this version has a better chance of gaining Mayor Greg Ballard’s signature.  

Ballard snuffed out the council's last attempt at a stronger ban when he vetoed an even tougher 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 that vote against a ban. 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.

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.

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