Indiana court throws out Evansville smoking ban

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court struck down Evansville’s smoking ban, giving Indianapolis tavern owners a glimmer of hope the same thing might happen here.

Indianapolis’ smoking ban went into effect back in June of 2012. A group of local tavern owners has been fighting it since. They say, it significantly hurts their business. They also say it discriminates because it allows smoking at Indianapolis’ off track betting parlor downtown. And it’s a similar exemption in Evansville that the Supreme Court ruled 4-1, is unconstitutional.

Evansville exempted a riverboat casino and the court said it can’t do that. Mark Small, the attorney representing a group of Indianapolis tavern owners, speaking only to 24-Hour News 8, said the Indiana Supreme Court decision has him heading back to court to stop enforcement of the local ban.

“As soon as a court would hear it, our argument would be, that since the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that an identical ordinance is against our constitution, that therefore the county cannot enforce this ordinance and the bars and taverns that choose to allow adults to smoke within them, should be allowed to do so,” Small said.

A spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard said city attorney’s are reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision to see if it would have any direct impact on the local law. But he noted, a Federal appeals court upheld the Indianapolis ban in November.

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