A split Legislature in Nebraska
is struggling over whether to exempt cigar bars from a statewide smoking ban
. The clock is ticking, as it takes effect on June 1. The measure, Legislative Bill 355, would limit smoking to half a dozen bars across the state – specifically, locations that have installed the appropriate humidors
and air-handling equipment.
This is not a proposed repeal of the smoking ban. Instead, it's a small exception that would allow adults to consume a legal product ... and it would prevent several businesses from forced closure. In today's economic environment, common sense would dictate that the government doesn't need to put even more pressure on companies that are struggling to survive.
To qualify under the bill, a bar would have to show the State Liquor Control Commission that at least 15 percent of its revenue comes from the sale of tobacco
. Few establishments would qualify, according to State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh. Any that tried to skew the results – e.g., by "selling cigars for $15 with a free steak dinner" – would prompt a movement to change the law.
Again, common sense suffers, as it would be tough for a "cigar bar
" to stay open if it was giving away expensive meals.
[Photo by Steve Zak