EVANSVILLE, Indiana — Supporters of an Evansville smoking ban say they don't want to give up on making the city smoke-free despite an Indiana Supreme Court decision throwing out the ordinance two weeks ago.
But finding a solution is proving elusive because of concerns that there isn't enough support on the City Council to include the Tropicana Evansville casino in a ban.
The initial ban exempted the casino but included all other businesses, including bars and private clubs. A group of taverns and private clubs argued that the ban violated the state constitution by providing privileges to the casino not available to other businesses.
The Supreme Court ruled 3-2 in their favor, reversing decisions by the state appeals court and a Vanderburgh County judge upholding the ban.
Smokefree Communities Director Julie Phillips is urging the Evansville council to include the casino in a new comprehensive ban.
"Everyone will be given equal protection, and every business will operate on a level playing field," she said.
Councilwoman Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley, a Republican, said she would support a ban that included the casino but told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/Mr1hgo ) she isn't sure enough other members would join her to pass the measure.
Republican Mayor Lloyd Winnecke has supported the ban and urged businesses to continue enforcing no-smoking policies, but he hasn't suggested a new course of action.
Council members voted 7-2 in early 2012 to approve the smoking ban with the casino's exemption.
Democratic Councilman Dan Adams, a retired heart doctor, said he was surprised by the Supreme Court's decision since the previous rulings had upheld it.
"I'm so hurt by that, emotionally upset by that," Adams said. "It doesn't make sense."
Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com