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Indy Republican Proposes Quicker Smoking Fix Than Dems

The new ordinance would remove exemptions for bars and restaurants and allow them for private clubs.

Cigarette

Photo: Justin Shearer (Flickr)

A tougher smoking ban may have bipartisan support in the Indianapolis-Marion County Council.

Indianapolis-Marion County Council President Ryan Vaughn says he will introduce a proposal to expand the existing restrictions on smoking in public places. Democrats want new restrictions passed before the Super Bowl crowd comes to town in February.

But in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Vaughn said state requirements that new regulations with penalties be posted for 30 days prior to taking effect make it impossible enact such an ordinance in January and enforce it prior to the Super Bowl.

The Republican proposal would remove the exemption in the current ban that allows smoking in hotel rooms, bowling alleys, bars, and restaurants serving only patrons over age 21. It would allow several additional exceptions including cigar/hooka bars, retail tobacco businesses, and not-for-profit private membership clubs.

Vaughn says these exemptions meet Mayor Greg Ballard‘s requirements, adding he has been told the mayor would sign the ordinance if passed by the council. He says if the measure is introduced on December 5, it could be eligible for final passage by December 19. Once signed by the mayor, it could go into effect as soon as January 22, 2012.

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