A Douglas County District Court judge has again rejected arguments that the city's smoking ban is unconstitutional.
Judge Jack Murphy issued an order, released Tuesday, denying a request by Lawrence bar operator Dennis Steffes to suspend the city's smoking ban while he wages a lawsuit alleging the ban is unconstitutionally vague and illegally oversteps state law.
Murphy had ruled in late December the smoking ban was constitutional, but Steffes - who operates Coyotes and Last Call nightclubs - asked the court to reconsider.
Murphy again rejected Steffes arguments and said there was no evidence to support suspending the ban, nor was there evidence the ban was unconstitutionally vague or overreaching.
Steffes first filed a lawsuit challenging the ban - which began in July 2004 - in early 2005 after his businesses received five citations for violating the ban, which prohibits all indoor smoking in places of employment.
The city's Municipal Court found him innocent on four of the citations. Steffes appealed the one conviction in Douglas County District Court, but the city later dropped the charges. Steffes, though, continued with his constitutional challenge to the law.
Steffes on Tuesday said he was in the process of filing an appeal with the Kansas Court of Appeals.
"We fully expected the response that we received," Steffes said. "This was pretty much a technicality. This case hasn't had a fair shake since it started in Lawrence. It is pretty obvious that it needs to get out of town."
City staff attorneys said they would be ready if that happens.
"If Mr. Steffes appeals it, we will vigorously defend it," said Toni Wheeler, a staff attorney who represented the city.
More about the smoking ban
- 6News video: Report spurs talk of state-wide smoking ban (06-27-06)
- On the street: Do you think Kansas should adopt a statewide smoking ban?
- Ban could snuff smoking statewide (06-28-06)
- Report: Dangers of secondhand smoke more pervasive than previously thought (06-28-06)
- 6News video: Judge rejects smoking ban suspension (06-06-06)
- Judge again upholds city's smoking ban (06-07-06)
- 6News video: Smoking ban remains contentious 18 months in (01-15-06)
- Effects of city's smoking ban still in dispute (01-15-06)
- 6News video: Judge rules in favor of city smoking ban (12-22-05)
- Judge upholds city smoking ban (12-23-05)
- 6News video: Suspension of smoking ban in hands of judge (12-17-05)
- Smoking ban now in judge's hands (12-17-05)
- Kansas Health Foundation Grant
- Douglas County receives grant to expand anti-smoking efforts (12-05-05)
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