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As mentioned here last week, Polk County District Court Judge Douglas Staskal made his ruling on the request to temporarily block Iowa’s new smoking ban on Monday.  The ruling left the door open for bar owners to to proceed with the case.  According to a story on the Des Moines Register web site:

Staskal found it “safe to conclude that the plaintiffs have at least a reasonable chance of succeeding on these claims because, on first impression, the exemptions appear to make the statute as a whole substantially under inclusive in relation to its stated purpose.”

Basically, the bar owners did not provide enough evidence that the law was causing irreperable harm:

Staskal’s 10-page ruling says complaints of lost business due to the smoking ban amount to claims of “financial damage that can be remedied by the payment of the money” once the lawsuit is over. Bar owners failed to present evidence of a wider link between their cash registers and the smoking ban, the judge said.

I’m not really surprised that this request was rejected.  The coalition involved in the case is regional instead of statewide, and reflects a limited number of interests.  This might not bode well for them during the actaul court case, Staskal’s comments notwithstanding.  What is needed here is a broader plaintiff group with a stronger constitutional focus in light of the fact that there are many people negatively impacted by this.  Including employees and customers in many businesses and in private homes (check the part of the law that covers day care, you’ll see). 

The law is bad.  It’s got good intentions, but it’s just bad.  This sounds like a trivial encroachment, but but it’s the small changes in our rights that can become major impediments to our freedoms.  We should not put up with it.

We certainly can find a solution to maintain healthy environments where necessary without stamping on our rights.   And we get to elect our state legislators this year.

“Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain” – that’s the Iowa State Motto. 

Do we mean it?

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