(AP) — A group of Indianapolis bar owners is backing a proposal that would
ban smoking in their businesses but wants no exemptions for private clubs
and other competitors.
Republican president of the City-County Council announced this week he
would introduce an expanded smoking ban ordinance in time for it to take
effect before February's Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
however, take over majority control of the council Jan. 1 and many of
their council members say that Council President Ryan Vaughn's proposal is
too weak because it would exempt cigar and hookah bars, retail tobacco
stores and nonprofit fraternal groups.
The group Save
Indianapolis Bars, which has about 1,300 bar owners, employees and patrons
as members, plans to lobby council members to minimize exemptions so
private clubs and other competitors don't gain an advantage, The
Indianapolis Star reported Friday.
Two years ago,
the group took out radio ads opposing an expansion of the city's 2005
smoke-free law that has exclusions for stand-alone bars, bowling alleys
and some other places. But many bar owners now expect tougher regulations.
looking at is trying to get them to not play favorites," said Brad
Klopfenstein, the group's spokesman and managing partner of Claude &
Annie's bar on the city's west side. "If it's a health issue that they're
concerned about, exempting anybody pretty much says that it's not a health
owners are preparing for "a horrible 2012," Klopfenstein said, with the
smoking ban expected to cause lost business and, in some cases, bars to
advocacy group Smoke Free Indy, which backs only the comprehensive plan so
far, estimates 370 bars and other establishments still allow smoking.
By the group's
count, Vaughn's proposal would exclude about 60 from the smoking ban:
nearly 20 cigar and hookah bars, five retail tobacco shops, and 35
nonprofit private organizations, including country clubs, social clubs,
fraternal organizations and veterans halls.
councilwoman Angela Mansfield said she hopes that Republican Mayor Greg
Ballard would meet with her and other comprehensive ban supporters "to see
exactly where he is on the issue."
spokesman Marc Lotter said the mayor's office is willing to work with all
and we're working toward the same goal," Lotter said.
Vaughn both say they want to rid bars of smoking before Super Bowl
activities begin in late January. But Mansfield amended that goal
Thursday: "I'd much rather see a good, comprehensive proposal in place,
even if it's after the Super Bowl."
this week that he believed action on a new ordinance would be needed
before January so that it could take effect before the Super Bowl.
statewide smoking ban failed in the Legislature this year after health
advocates assailed as too week because if allowed exemptions for casinos,
bars, fraternal clubs, smoke shops and nursing homes.