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Indy mayor threatens veto of smoking ban

  |   Jan. 31, 2012 at 12:34 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is threatening to veto the City-County Council's new measure that bans smoking in most bars.

The City-County Council passed the smoking ban on a 19-9 vote Monday, one "aye" shy of the 20 votes needed to override Ballard's promised veto, The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday.

Ballard is opposed to wording in the measure that would force non-profit private clubs and veterans halls to choose between allowing smoking or allowing children on the premises.

Ballard has said he thinks the choice is unfair. Sponsors of the proposed smoking ban and members of the council's Democratic majority said it was a matter of protecting children from harmful smoke.

Both sides said they had compromised enough. "We have done our part," Council President Maggie Lewis said after the meeting, noting the proposal's sponsors agreed to Ballard's request to exempt private clubs, as well as cigar and hookah bars from the smoking ban. "I will sleep well tonight knowing I did my part."

"Let private clubs be private," Ballard said Monday. "We don't go into people's homes. … These people can take care of their facility. That's the whole point."

Meanwhile, members of the Indiana House were expected to consider a bill this week that would adopt a statewide smoking ban for most workplaces, but would allow an 18-month delay for bars. Gov. Mitch Daniels has signaled his general support.

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