As expected, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has vetoed a bill that would have expanded the city’s smoking ordinance, although the smoking ban debate there appears far from over.
Last Friday, Ballard followed through on his vow to veto the smoking ban because he views the measure’s language pertaining to nonprofit private clubs and veterans halls as unfair.
The smoking ban proposal, which expands the city’s 2005 ordinance to include bowling alleys, hotel rooms and bars where food is served, was passed by a City-Council vote of 19-9 13 days ago. The ban exempts cigar bars, tobacco shops and hookah bars.
The ban also exempted some private clubs and veterans halls, but the language in the bill would have made it illegal for children to be on those premises should the establishments allow smoking.
In a statement released by Ballard’s office, he says that "if the council would pass a smoking ban covering the areas where we agree, such as bars, bowling alleys, hotel rooms and restaurants, I would sign it the moment it hit my desk."
While the news may not have been surprising to City-Council members, smoking ban advocates were still disappointed by the mayor’s decision.
One of the co-sponsors of the legislation, Councilor Angela Mansfield, has said in news reports that she will ask her fellow City-Council members to override the mayor’s veto at tonight’s meeting. It’s expected, though, that any Council vote will fall short of the number of votes needed to override the veto.
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