November 21, 2006

Bars Appeal Colorado Smoking Ban

Arguing unequal treatment:
A group representing Colorado bar owners have filed a formal notice of their intent to appeal a federal judge's ruling that upheld a new statewide ban on indoor smoking.

The Coalition for Equal Rights has asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock last month. The next step will be for the group to file a brief detailing why it believes Babcock was wrong.

Coalition member Allen Campbell has said bars around the state have suffered financial losses ranging up to 45 percent under the new law, which took effect July 1.

The coalition's lawsuit argued the law unfairly applied to most bars and restaurants while exempting casinos, cigar bars, airport smoking lounges and private workplaces with three employees or less.

In his ruling, Babcock said lawmakers have the right to determine if smoking is a public health risk and whether exemptions to the ban should be granted.
Of course, from a public policy viewpoint, this should not even be a constitutional issue, but simply a question of freedom of choice and association. Let the bar owners and patrons decide whether or not smoking should be allowed.

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