REQUEST AIMS TO BLOCK STATEWIDE PRO­HI­BI­TION

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - LOCAL - By DAVID KLEP­PER

TTwi­light “Eclipse” fans Ali Seel­ing (from left), Bree Young, Kim Ry­den and Ter­essa Non­nast cheered for Team Ed­ward as they waited Tues­day out­side the AMC Stu­dio 30 in Olathe to see a spe­cial show­ing of all three Twi­light movies.

Own­ers of bars, bingo par­lors, pri­vate clubs seek time to chal­lenge new law.

With only hours be­fore Kansas is sched­uled to go smoke-free in pub­lic places, own­ers of bars, bingo par­lors and pri­vate clubs are seek­ing to block the ban in court.

A Shawnee County District Court Judge said he would rule by 5 p.m. to­day on a request for a tem­po­rary in­junc­tion against the statewide smok­ing pro­hi­bi­tion. The busi­ness own­ers hope to de­lay the ban while they chal­lenge the land­mark law.

Start­ing Thurs­day, a new state law is to ban smok­ing in all restau­rants, bars and work­places — ex­cept cer­tain pri­vate clubs and state-run casi­nos.

But that is un­fair, ac­cord­ing to those seek­ing to de­lay or kill the ban. At­tor­ney Tuck Dun­can, rep­re­sent­ing a bar, pool hall and bingo par­lors in the Wi­chita area, said state law­mak­ers un­fairly ex­empted casi­nos be­cause they gen­er­ated money for the state.

“If it is good for the goose, it’s good for the gan­der,” Dun­can told Judge Franklin Theis on Tues­day dur­ing two hours of oral ar­gu­ments.

Dun­can said the new law should be re­turned to the Leg- is­la­ture.

“They re­ally need to cure the prob­lem they cre­ated,” he said.

But Tim Rie­mann, an at­tor­ney for the state, ar­gued that the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion “does not re­quire fair­ness” and that the state was within its rights to pro­tect its state-run casi­nos. He said there was no ev­i­dence the ban would hurt pri­vate busi­nesses.

“It’s just not that big of a deal,” Rie­mann said. “Smok­ers know this, which is why they don’t leave their fa­vorite bar af­ter it goes smoke-free.”

Dun­can’s clients moved to in­ter­vene in a law­suit filed by a pri­vate club in Tonganoxie. The Down­town Bar and Grill is chal­leng­ing spe­cific pro­vi­sions of the law that treat some pri­vate clubs dif­fer­ently than oth­ers. The ban would ap­ply only to clubs that were li­censed af­ter 2009. The Tonganoxie club opened more re­cently.

The club’s at­tor­ney, Mike Mer­riam, said it was as if the Leg­is­la­ture said “brunettes can smoke, blon­des and red­heads can­not.”

Whether or not Theis moves to de­lay the ban, the le­gal chal­lenge will con­tinue.

“We’re still look­ing at a trial later on,” Mer­riam said. “Mean­while, con­sti­tu­tional rights are at stake.” To reach David Klep­per, call 785-354-1388 or send e-mail to dklep­per@kc­star.com.

BIG STOCK PHOTO

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