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South Bend council rejects smoking ban for bars

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A proposed ban on smoking inside South Bend's bars has been voted down by the city council.

Dozens of supporters and opponents of the ban spoke during Monday night's meeting before council members voted 5-4 against the proposal.

Councilwoman Valerie Schey had been an original sponsor of the ban, but voted against it. She said she changed her stance after talking with bar owners.

"On this issue, I believe we need to listen closely to those for whom this has the greatest impact, and that's the business owners," Schey said. "At the request of South Bend bar owners, I will not be supporting this bill."

South Bend bar owners argue they would lose customers because bars outside the city limits in St. Joseph County or in the neighboring city of Mishawaka could still allow smoking. A statewide smoking ban that went into effect last year prohibits smoking in restaurants and most other workplaces, but exempts bars, private clubs and casinos unless banned by local ordinances.

Councilman Gavin Ferlic, a sponsor of the South Bend proposal, said the tougher smoking ban was aimed at making the 100,000-person city a healthier place to work and disputed arguments that the ban would hurt the city's bars.

"The vast majority of all research indicates no negative economic impact," he said. "If anything, it indicates a positive economic impact."Indianapolis and Fort Wayne are among many cities around Indiana that go further than state law to prohibit smoking inside bars.

Bar owners sued Indianapolis over the ban last year but have been unsuccessful in court.

Evansville enacted a smoking ban that included bars in 2012, but the Indiana Supreme Court overturned it because it made an exemption for a casino. The court said the exemption violated the equal privileges and immunities clause of the Indiana Constitution.

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  • IBJ: Your competition seems insecure...
    Interesting. The ABC 57 news site at: http://www.abc57.com/home/top-stories/South-Bend-266999271.html carried this story as well, but the site's editors have seen fit to delete all the comments opposing the ban (which seemed to be the only comments made) while still inviting readers to "Be the first to comment!" on their story. Censorship of a site by its owners is acceptable as long as such censorship is openly stated as policy. A news site posing as offering an open forum which then erases entries that conflict with its editorial policy is horse of a quite different color. - MJM
  • Research Claims and Support?
    A quick additional note: The Councilman claims "The vast majority of economic research" supports the claim of no harm to the bars. I would like to ask for a set of citations to back that up. Here's a site with close to a hundred citations to stories and studies telling the opposite tale. If the Councilman's claims of a "vast majority" of research being supportive of the "no harm to bars" theory, he should have no difficulty coming up with similar support to show his public here: http://kuneman.smokersclub.com/economic.html - MJM
  • Choose: Stand, or Run.
    So, Councilman Gavin Ferlic, a sponsor of the South Bend proposal, said "The vast majority of all research indicates no negative economic impact. ... If anything, it indicates a positive economic impact." Is the Councilman telling the truth, or is he lying? There'a an easy way to tell actually. He wants this ban. It's being blocked by bar interests who don't believe him and think they will lose money. All he has to do is stand behind his beliefs, and GUARANTEE, legally, out of his own pocket and those of his supporters on the ban, that he and they will personally cover any losses that the bars experience in the first three years of so a ban. Problem solved! The ban gets passed, the Councilman and his supporters are happy. And even the bars are not as unhappy as they were because they know they'll be covered for at least the next three years if the Councilman is lying! So how about it Councilman? Truth Or Lie? You can show where you're at: sign those legal papers, get your supporters to sign them as well, and you'll show your support for the truth and for your ban. Or, alternatively, you can run away faster than a little girl from a pack of tarantulas. Choose. Michael J. McFadden Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
  • Smoking law
    The owners in the hospitality industry has the right to use a legal product on 'private' property Smoke from a handful of crushed leaves and some paper that is mixed with the air of a decently ventilated venue is harmful to your health? If anybody believes that, then I have some ocean-front property in Ohio I would like to sell them

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