Protecting workers all the way to the unemployment line

A Colorado state lawmaker plans to introduce a law that would exempt bars from a statewide anti-smoking law. Bars interested in the privilege would shell out an extra $500 for their liquor licenses. Note the D in front of the pro-freedom pol and the R in front of the nannystater:

These are adult establishments,” said Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, who wants to modify the indoor smoking ban that went into effect July 1. “This bill would include all places that have a liquor license: the small mom-and-pop bars, private clubs such as the Elks, the Moose.” … “Hopefully, it will never see the light of day,” said House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, chief sponsor of the smoking ban.

Banners like to say that anti-smoking laws don’t really hurt businesses and the local anti-smoking activist claims that the ban is “about protecting workers.” However:

Golden Tavern owner Angie Godfrey said she has been struggling to keep her West Colfax neighborhood bar afloat since the smoking ban took effect. Since July, she said, Angie’s Tavern, which has been in business since the 1970s, has taken a $17,000 hit in sales and has had to lay off four workers.

Remember, smoking’s not allowed in the unemployment line:

“I’m a small place that holds up to 50 people, and half my customers aren’t coming in,” Godfrey said. “I haven’t gotten new people like they said we would. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.” The Colorado License Beverage Association said Godfrey is not alone. The bar owners’ group cited a recent survey showing that nearly 60 neighborhood pubs have reported a decline in business, ranging up to 45 percent. The survey also found that 29 neighborhood bars in the metro area have gone out of business and telephones at another 30 bars have been disconnected. “We’re concerned about the 60 bars that have closed or are barely hanging on since the enactment of the smoking ban,” Tochtrop said.

Of course, May doesn’t buy that line. But who’s most likely to understand how bans affect businesses? Ban-pushing pols or the business owners who have to balance the books each month? Article here. Meanwhile, the California city of Belmont has voted to delay what would be the nation’s most restrictive smoking ban till at least March:

Belmont is poised to become the first city in the nation to ban smoking almost everywhere and evidently the whole country is watching and paying attention. The smoking ordinance will ban smoking everywhere including bars, restaurants, parks, cars and the university. The only exception to the law will be inside single-family detached residences.

Article here.