- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - One Nebraska bar owner is frustrated that cigar bars are still allowing indoor smoking despite a ruling by the Nebraska Supreme Court earlier this year saying the practice was unconstitutional.

The owners of Big John’s Billiards had filed a lawsuit challenging an exemption to the state’s 2009 smoking ban. The law had allowed people to smoke in cigar bars, but the state’s highest court found that it amounted to unconstitutional special legislation.

The pool hall’s attorney, Ted Boecker Jr., on Monday criticized the state’s failure to enforce the smoking ban in cigar bars, saying that he’s “never seen anything like that.”

While state officials declined to comment, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1yYcQSR ) reported they have indicated in recent months they’ll wait on a final filing from the court before enforcing the ban. But Boecker said the wait is unnecessary because the filing holdup is over attorney fees.

The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission said it will wait on that decision from the court before pulling cigar bar licenses and issuing regular liquor licenses. County health department directors are waiting to enforce the ban because those cigar bar licenses remain in effect.

Meanwhile, the 12 cigar bar owners in Nebraska are operating on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s a little strange, and I wish we had more information that we could tell customers,” said Jason Hutchinson of Jake’s Cigars & Spirits in Lincoln.

Hutchinson said he and other owners hope legislators can find a legal fix.

“We want to be able to tell them something but unfortunately there isn’t anything to tell them,” he said.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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