Opposition of a state-wide non smoking ban is picking up momentum as private bar owners from all over Southern Colorado form a coalition to fight it. More than 80 Southern Colorado bar owners met for the first Private Enterprise Protection Agency, or PEP meeting, Tuesday afternoon. Coalition members say they're seeking an injunction to HR1175, which would ban smoking state-wide including bars.
"It takes away from our freedom to choose to do the things we want to do in our establishment," said bar manager Lori Mitchell. "That shouldn't be legal in my opinion."
Besides freedom of choice and loss of business, bar owners say they're most upset the bill would exempt casinos from the smoking ban.
"The casinos acknowledge that the non-smoking ban would adversely effect revenue, ergo state revenue," said one coalition member who wished to remain unidentified. "The state agreed by granting the exemption, and by doing that they're showing public health is for sale."
Members of the coalition admit fighting legislators over the bill might be futile. It's why they say they would rather have this law go to the people so they can decide it's future.
The bill is scheduled to become law on July 1, 2006.