Bar owners got their first shot in court to get a stay ordered on the 2008 Iowa Smoking Ban. Some bar owners say they are losing business, some preparing to shut down for good. Although one admitted that gasoline prices and other economic issues may be impacting business as well, there should be no doubt that some patrons who enjoy smoking and drinking with their pals probably figure they can spend less buying their own six-pack and drink at home where they can at least smoke (as long they they don’t have a daycare business operating out of the home).
George Eichhorn, fresh off of a Republican primary loss for the honor of running against Democrat Tom Harkin, is representing the group members of the Iowa Bar Owners Coalition.
State officials are trying to stand on studies in other states that demonstrate that the impact on restaurants and bars is actually steady to positive. I have yet to see these studies, but regardless, it does not change the fact that the new law is bad in several ways. Taking away the rights of property owners is just wrong.
Polk County District Judge Douglas Staskal plans to have a decision on the stay early next week. It would be an interesting situation if the law was struck down until the Iowa General Assembly can meet again… would they try to hold a special session over this.
On a technical note, it’s interesting that at least two of the local TV news stations posted this story by using a short 3 paragraph piece from the AP. This story deserved better, in my opinion. I’m glad the Cedar Rapids Gazette took the trouble to have one of their reporters cover the story. Granted, the coalition is mostly made up of bar owners from eastern Iowa, still, this was a critical state level story.