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Austin smoking ordinance back in court...


Judge to clear air on Austin smoking ban
Bar owners say rules confusing and difficult to enforce; ruling expected in a few weeks.

By Sarah Coppola
Friday, August 18, 2006

A federal judge will soon decide whether Austin's year-old smoking ban is too confusing to enforce.

A group of bar owners sued the city last fall, shortly after the voter-approved ban on smoking in most public places took effect.

11.18.05: Smoking ban clears the air in Austin bars
10.29.05: It's last call for smokers
10.20.05: Judge upholds citywide smoking ban
10.19.05: Austin smoking ban upheld
10.12.05: Judge may call halt to city smoking ban
09.02.05: Smokers take their last drags
08.31.05: Can smoke-free bars become stink-free?
05.09.05: Smoking ban drew many new voters
05.08.05: Smoke ban passes with 52 percent
04.17.05: Bar owners say anti-smoking ban could kill the music
03.18.05: Austin smoking ban stays on ballot
03.01.05: Austinites will get to vote on smoking ban
02.11.05: Anti-smoking group rushes to get smoking ban on the ballot

Lawyers Marc Levin and Jennifer Riggs, who are representing the bar owners, said the city is unfairly and arbitrarily punishing bar owners for patrons who persist in smoking at bars, instead of punishing individual smokers.

"Bar managers aren't in their bars all the time, every minute of the day, yet they're being held responsible," Riggs said.

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