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Indiana justices to rule on Evansville smoking ban

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The Indiana Supreme Court accepted two cases last week for transfer, a pair of rulings from Vanderburgh County on the city of Evansville’s ordinance prohibiting smoking in certain places.

In 2006, the Evansville Common Council adopted an ordinance that prohibited smoking in workplaces and other public places in Evansville but exempted bars, private clubs and riverboats. On Feb. 13, 2012, the council adopted City of Evansville Ordinance G-2012-1 Amended with an effective date of April 1, 2012. The amended ordinance prohibits smoking in bars and private clubs but permits smoking on riverboats.

In separate lawsuits, VFW Posts and other fraternal organizations and the owners of numerous bars sought injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that Ordinance G-2012-1 Amended violates Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution. The lawsuit filed by the fraternal organizations also claimed the ordinance violates Article 1, Section 9. The trial court denied relief in both cases and the Court of Appeals affirmed on Feb. 15.

The smoking-ban lawsuits, Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council, 82S01-1306-CT-436; and VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council, 82S01-1306-PL-437, are the only cases the Supreme Court took last week; it denied transfer to 25 cases. The complete list is available on the court’s website.

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