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Owners Say Smoking Ban Targets Indiana Bars

Indiana bars and taverns say they are being singled out in the new smoking ban legislation working its way through the General Assembly.

The legislation provides exceptions to three classes of businesses: gaming floors in casinos, racinos and off-track betting parlors, existing cigar and hookah bars and social clubs whose members vote to allow smoking. Bill author Eric Turner says he knows plenty of groups will be coming forward, trying to get their own exemption put into the bill.

“You know, if we listen and pass all those exemptions, there’s not much sense of doing a smoking ban," he says.

Bars and taverns are among those calling loudest for a carve-out. Brad Klopfenstein represents bar owners and says if a ban is going to be passed, it should not include any exemptions.

“To say that we value certain employees more than others, that’s doing a disservice," he says. "However, if you’re going to allow exemptions, then you’re suddenly just playing favorites, and this becomes a business issue.”

A House committee heard testimony on the ban Monday, but could not vote because the House Democrat holdout stemming from a dispute over right to work prevented the bill from being moved to the committee.

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