Johnson County has repealed its strict smoking ban even before it took effect.
The ban prohibited smoking in all bars, restaurants, businesses, hotels and private clubs in Johnson County and was to go into effect on Jan. 1. That is, until commissioners voted unanimously to repeal the ban after receiving complaints from some business owners in the county.
Commissioner Troy DeHart initially voted in favor of the ban because of an outcry from anti-smoking advocates, but voted against it the second time around.
“They had some very good concerns on the fact that you know hey look, I’m paying the bills, I’m paying the taxes, I’m keeping the light on here, I should have the right to run my business the way I like,” DeHart says.
Michelle Kluesner manages a Greenwood bar called Peppers and spoke out against the law. She says she is happy for now, but nervous about the future.
“To be honest with you, I think they got pressured into it,” she says. “I don’t think enough people knew about it to begin with on the November fifth vote. I think eventually we will end up going non-smoking, but for now, all my customers are happy. Hopefully that will get us through the cold season because that way they won’t have to go outside to smoke.”
In December, two commissioners will be replaced, including DeHart. Kluesner says she believes the new commissioners could forward another proposal to prohibit smoking in the future.