March 27 2007, 12:21 PM
Colorado legislators are close to closing loopholes in last year's statewide smoking ban that would leave the smoking lounge at Denver International Aiport as the last indoor refuge for nicotine lovers. As the Rocky Mountain News reports:
Under two bills on track to become law, casino patrons would no longer be allowed to smoke, and neither could customers of cigar bars and certain taverns. On Monday, the Senate gave final approval to House Bill 1269, which outlaws smoking at casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. The Senate amended the bill to give the gaming operations a year before going smoke-free to allow owners to build outdoor patios and adjust their business plans. A separate measure by Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, will eliminate most other exemptions in the statewide smoking ban passed last year. Casinos, the DIA smoking lounges and cigar bars were exempted from the 2007 ban, but a loophole in the cigar-bar exemption has allowed tavern owners with heavy cigarette sales also to avoid the ban. Both bills must pass the House, but Democratic leaders said they have excellent chances. "If we had a cleaner smoking ban bill in the first place, all this nonsense and challenges to the ban would have been over last year," Boyd said.Whatever your thoughts on a smoking ban in general, this is the right move for the legislature to make. If you're going to make indoor smoking illegal, you can't pick and choose which establishments are breaking the law. Kudos to the legislature for fixing a silly loophole.