Temporary injunction issued halting implementation of statewide smoking ban in 28 clubs in Kansas
TOPEKA — The statewide smoking ban will go into effect on Thursday, with exactly 28 new exceptions.
The Downtown Bar and Grill in Tonganoxie and 27 other private clubs that received liquor licenses after Jan. 1, 2009, would have been subjected to the smoking ban but have been granted a reprieve by a Shawnee County judge.
Other private clubs, with older liquor licenses, had already been exempted by the law itself. A Shawnee County judge ruled that there was a sufficiently high likelihood that the law, as it was written, violated the equal protection clause in prohibiting smoking in new clubs, but not in old ones, and issued a temporary injunction until the case could be heard.
At the same time, the court refused to issue an injunction for other bars and businesses that had sought to join the lawsuit. The court also said that it would allow those businesses to voluntarily withdraw from the lawsuit in the next 10 days, or it would dismiss their petitions outright.
A previous report by the Associated Press stating that the smoking ban would not go into effect was inaccurate.
Lawrence’s smoking ban, which prohibits smoking in all private clubs within the city limits, remains in effect. It has already been tested before the Kansas Supreme Court, after it was enacted in 2004.
“We don’t believe the injunction impacts our local ordinance, because we are more stringent than the state law in that we don’t have a number of exemptions that are included in the state law,” said David Corliss, Lawrence city manager, who noted that the city was not a party to the lawsuit. “We will obviously study the judge’s decision and we’ll confirm our intial understanding, but our ordinance still stands at this point.”