People Ban: IL State Update Page 8

Illinois ?State Update

Bar owners rally against smoking ban
Efforts continued Wednesday as 43 Indianapolis bar owners and individuals gathered downtown to rally before a federal hearing on the June 1 smoking ban.
August 1, 2012
By Fox59
Efforts continued Wednesday as 43 Indianapolis bar owners and individuals gathered downtown to rally before a federal hearing on the June 1 smoking ban.
A federal judge is expected to decide whether the ban will be kept in place or suspended while the lawsuit moves forward.
The demonstration is another attempt to get an injunction while the federal lawsuit is pending. The lawsuit, including ten bar owners and two individuals, was filed the week after the ban went into effect.
The ban was implemented in part to benefit bar owners’ safety, but workers maintained their right to decide for themselves. Bar owners wore shirts reading “Butt out of our Business” to emphasize the point.
After making the motion for a preliminary injunction in July, Mark Small, lead counsel for the bar owners, explained why this action against the ban was necessary.
“There is no doubt that, contrary to what many of the proponents of the ban claimed, many Indianapolis bars have been harmed by the smoking ban,” Small said. “All my clients’ bars are small, neighborhood taverns. Many of the owners have put their life savings into their bars and now they face the very real possibility that the city’s ban will put them out of business.”
Some bar owners involved have said they’ve lost as much as 60 percent of their business since the new smoking policy took effect. As a result, they’ve laid off workers or cut back their hours. Revenue from pool tables, jukeboxes and dart boards has also been down since the start of the ban.
The pending lawsuit and Wednesday’s rally are not the first efforts protesting the new, stronger policy. In May, the operators of eight bars and at least one smoker filed federal lawsuits claiming the ban violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard signed the smoking ban into law in April. The ordinance banned smoking in all Indianapolis bars and gave private clubs the option to decide whether to go smoke free. The law is tougher than the statewide smoking ban that went into effect July 1.

Neighborhood taverns disappear from Chicago, other cities
Source: USA Today
By Judy Keen
Feb 13, 2012
CHICAGO – What used to be Johnnie’s Lounge is empty now, though a fading Hamm’s Beer sign still hangs over its locked door. Paulie’s Place is vacant. So is the spot once occupied by Max Tavern. The building that housed Lawry’s Tavern starting in 1937 is now home to a more upscale bar.
Neighborhood taverns, which for generations were cornerstones of Chicago’s ethnic communities, are being squeezed out by the economy, gentrification, changing tastes and city regulations that make it more difficult to operate in residential areas.
“Hopefully they won’t disappear,” says Scott Martin, owner of Simon’s Tavern, which has served patrons in Andersonville, once a Swedish enclave, since 1934. It’s a clich?, says Martin, 51, but “it’s great to go someplace where everybody knows your name.”
It’s still possible to find old-school taverns that cater to neighborhoods and serve inexpensive beverages, says Sean Parnell, who wrote the 2010 book Historic Bars of Chicago and runs the Chicago Bar Project,, which chronicles the city’s bar scene and tracks the demise of such spots.
“There aren’t many of them around anymore,” he says. “You really can’t get a tavern license in areas that have regentrified . and the costs for licensing and insurance have really gone up.”
Bob Smerch closed Sterch’s – which combined his name with that of a partner named Stern – a couple of years ago with great reluctance after 38 years in business. “It was a neighborhood joint where everybody knew everybody,” says Smerch, 70. “It’s illegal to run tabs in Chicago, but I’ve heard that they ran tabs there to a fault.”
“I miss it horribly,” he says. “People want bars now that focus on 20- or 30-year-olds and are so different from the ones that were.”
A place to go
In the days before television, people – mostly men – sought diversions in neighborhood taverns, says Michael Ebner, history professor emeritus at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill., a Chicago suburb. “There was a degree of camaraderie there and a sense of neighborliness as well,” he says. “The social bonds that evolved . were quite enduring.”
Home-cooked meals often were available at taverns, which became hubs of political activity and, eventually, places to watch sports events on TV. “The tradition lives on, but in sharply diminished proportion,” Ebner says.
Some cities celebrate old-fashioned taverns. The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation organizes tours of local drinking spots, says Arthur Ziegler, the foundation’s president. About 50 people participated in the December outing of the Society of Tavern Seekers. Many taverns are unknown even to Pittsburgh residents and retain historical architecture and signage. “It’s all very appealing,” he says.
In Buffalo, Marty Biniasz and Eddy Dobosiewicz founded Forgotten Buffalo, which leads tours of local sites, including pubs. “The neighborhood tavern became an oasis” for men who worked in steel mills and other factories, Biniasz says. A resurgence in interest is being driven by young people who “are looking for authenticity and are rediscovering there’s a real heart and soul in these places,” he says.
Licenses hard to come by
In 1990, about 3,300 Chicago establishments had tavern licenses allowing them to serve alcoholic beverages; places that also offer live entertainment, charge admission or serve food as a primary source of business require different or additional licenses.
The number diminished as city leaders sought closure of bars that prompted police calls or complaints from neighbors, and since 2009, the number of tavern licenses has held steady at about 1,200.
There are about 5,000 businesses in the city that sell alcohol, including package goods stores, taverns, clubs and restaurants.
Opening or buying a tavern in Chicago can be complicated, says Mike Costanzo, a real estate broker with Jameson Commercial. Aldermen can seek liquor license moratoriums in areas as small as two blocks, and buyers are required to purchase the corporate entity that owns an existing tavern and license, he says.
“Getting a new tavern license issued in a residential neighborhood is brutal,” Costanzo says. “It’s virtually impossible.”
Ebner hopes Chicago’s remaining taverns can survive. If people stay home instead of patronizing neighborhood pubs, he says, “it really fosters a sense of personal isolation.”
Martin says the survival of the city’s sense of community is at stake. When he bought Simon’s Tavern 17 years ago, he found a shoebox containing $80,000 in IOUs. When a longtime patron died, he and his other customers gave the man, who had no family, a funeral.
When he was growing up in the neighborhood, Martin says, there were 15 bars on the street where Simon’s Tavern is located. “They’re all gone,” he says.

Loosen Ill. smoking ban restrictions?
ILLINOIS — An Illinois lawmaker is proposing legislation that would loosen the state’s smoking ban restrictions in bars and casinos.
State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D) out of Chicago has proposed new legislation that would allow casinos and bars to apply for smoking licenses. Click here to read more from’s Brianna Ehley reports that DeLuca introduced an almost identical piece of legislation last year, which passed committee but was never called onto the floor for debate.
The Smoke free Illinois Act became law in 2008. KHQA followed up with the Adams County Health Department. Click here for that story. We were told that many business owners who were concerned about the ban initially weren’t seeing business slow down too much.
Legislation for state smoking bans gained momentum across the U.S. in 2011.
As of 2012, the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights reports that 39 states and the District of Columbia have local laws in effect that require non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants or bars to be 100 percent smoke free.
KHQA’s Kristen Aguirre spoke with local business owners and health officials to get their views on the newest legislation proposed.
Some of them couldn’t agree more with it.
“Business owners should have the right to make their own decisions, said Jerry Schmidt. “And customers should have the right to make their own decisions”
“I don’t feel there should be a third party interest that have no invested interest in anybody’s health or their business has a right to make decisions on how people conduct their lives,” he said.
Jerry Schmidt owns both State Street Bar and Grill and Cellar 21.
He believes the smoking ban hasn’t done anything for smokers, but has cost him something.
“It just cost me additional expenses to put in a beer garden to accommodate smokers without them leaving the premise,” said Jerry Schmidt.
But for health officials, their main concern isn’t with the owners’ finances, it’s with their employees.
“We just don’t think that for the workers would need to be exposed to that eight hours a day,” said Amanda Crumrine, the Adams County health educator. “We just don’t think that that’s something they need to endure.”
This legislation will require establishments with a smoking license to provide documentation that they informed employees of the change and that they acknowledge receiving the disclosure.
While it also requires an air filtration system to be put in, health officials remain tough on their stance.
“It’s not a good idea for the public health in general,” said Amanda Crumrine.
“I understand both sides of the issues,” she said. “I understand that it has decreased traffic in bars but you have to look out for the public health of everyone.”
For Jerry Schmidt, it’s his decision.
“I’m a private business owner I have my own decisions to make based on my business,” he said.
This bill has tried to pass legislature three times but has never been successful.
KHQA spoke with Quincy Mayor John Spring who said it is highly unlikely that this issue will ever see the light of day

Illinois Considers Ease of Statewide Smoking Restrictions
Springfield, Illinois? March 29, 2011 –?? When an across-the-board smoking ban prevents cigar enthusiasts from smoking in a cigar bar or a cigar store, what’s the next logical move? Exempt them, says the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
The Illinois House Bill 1310 would give the state’s local liquor commissions power to issue smoking licenses to establishments with liquor licenses and other businesses that qualify – e.g. cigar bars and cigar stores.
“Now here’s a piece of tobacco-related legislation that is good for the state, good for business, and good for the economy, in general,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director for the IPCPR. “The smoking ban effectively obliterated cigar bars from the state. This legislation would allow for their welcomed return.”
The bill requires that prominent postings be made in the licensed establishments advising its employees and customers that smoking was permitted on the premises.
“The IPCPR – a non-profit organization comprised of some 2,000 local cigar store retailers and manufacturers of premium cigars – has long opposed legislated smoking bans while endorsing the right of business owners to decide for themselves whether or not to allow smoking in their respective businesses.? In a way, HB1310 returns that right to at least some business owners,” McCalla said.
The bill was initially sponsored by Representatives Anthony DeLuca and Randy Ramey.? Additional sponsors include Representatives Daniel Burke, Robert Rita, and Rita Mayfield.
“The state of Illinois is in a leadership position on this issue as it joins several other states currently preparing to revise their respective smoking bans to allow issuance of licenses by their local liquor commissions which would permit smoking in such establishments,” he said.
McCalla said the IPCPR is urging all of its members, their customers and all other adult residents of Illinois to contact their state legislators and urge their support for HB 1310.
“It’s the smart thing to do,” said McCalla. “It’s good for business, good for jobs and good for the state.“
Tony Tortorici

Got a “Smoking License”?
March 18, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – State lawmakers in Illinois are busy trying to improve business – in casinos and elsewhere – by making exceptions to the state’s no-smoking law and also adding slot machines to horse racing tracks.
A bill sponsored by State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) would allow local authorities to issue “smoking licenses” to such businesses as bars and strip clubs. It passed a House committee, as did separate bills to allow smoking in casinos.
State Rep. Dan Burke’s bill would make casinos an outright exception to Smoke Free Illinois, while a bill sponsored by State Rep. Andre Thapedi (D-Chicago) would restrict smoking to certain rooms of casinos.
The American Cancer Society and American Lung Association are against the measures, saying there is no way to fully ventilate a room to make it safe from second-hand smoke; and that nobody should have to be subjected to smoke to earn a paycheck.
A gambling expansion bill sponsored by State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) would allow slot machines at horse race tracks. Casino owners do not like this bill because it would increase the number of legal gambling facilities in the state from ten to sixteen.
HB 1310 (smoking licenses), HB 1965 (allowing smoking in casinos), HB 171 (allowing smoking rooms in casinos), and HB 3107 (slots at tracks) have all passed the House Executive Committee.

Illinois Lawmakers Mull Smoking in Casinos, Bars
Springfield, Illinois? March 4, 2011 –?? Two current bills under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly are expected to generate increased revenues for the state.? They would allow smoking in gaming facilities and eligible businesses that have liquor licenses.? The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association favors both proposals and today urged their passage.
House Bill 171 allows smoking in designated segregated ventilated smoking rooms in licensed gaming facilities.? House Bill 1310 provides that local liquor control commissions have the power to issue smoking licenses to bars and other adult-oriented establishments that have revenues with no more than 10 percent from food sales.
“The so-called Smoke Free Illinois Act prohibited smoking in all indoor workplaces and public places including bars/taverns, restaurants, private clubs and casinos beginning January 1, 2008.? These bills back off at least somewhat from that draconian, irrational position by allowing, under certain circumstances, smoking in casinos and cigar bars and other adult places.? As we see it, this would be a return to reason and we support their passage,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
McCalla noted that the Illinois Gaming Board has confirmed that passage of HB 171 “could have a positive impact on revenues” and it is generally acknowledged that re-creation of cigar bars also will generate increased revenues for the state as well as local authorities through licensing, taxes, jobs and sales taxes.
“It’s the smart thing to do,” said McCalla. “It’s good for business, good for jobs and good for the state. “
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has declared that the current statewide smoking ban was the primary reason that its nine casinos lost $400 million in revenues in its first year.? The study showed that the smoking ban was chiefly responsible for a 22 percent decline in revenues compared to recent years. It was also responsible for the improved or more stable performance of casinos in nearby states during the same period.? In addition, local communities also lost over $12 million in casino tax revenues.
For those concerned about secondhand smoke, don’t be, McCalla advised.? He cited the safe levels of secondhand smoke established by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“There is a falsely placed prejudice regarding secondhand smoke that never should have been allowed to fester in the first place.? Even OSHA has established safe levels of secondhand smoke and those levels are literally thousands of times higher than normally found in bars and restaurants that allow smoking.”
Tony Tortorici

Bars letting patrons smoke despite state law banning it

WGN News, November 25, 2009

CHICAGO – Two years ago, The Illinois Smoke Free Act took effect, banning smoking in most public places and striking a blow to smokers and angering many in the hospitality industry.

But smokers are still welcome in some places.

On a recent visit to Crow Bar on Chicago’s far Southeast side, roughly half of the patrons there had a cigarette in their hand – including owner Pat Carroll.

Customers, smokers and non, have even started a collection to help pay for the more than $700 in fines.

When the Illinois Smoke Free Act went into effect January 1, 2008, a huge battle was won for the American Lung Association.

“We’re seeing that most of the workplaces including bars and restaurants are being compliant with the new state law,” said Harold Wimmer, CEO Am. Lung Assoc. Greater Chicago.

But not all.

Not only did our undercover cameras capture smokers in Crow Bar, but in other places throughout the Chicago area.

Within the past two months WGNTV visited establishments on the North side, South side and West side. Violators. Of the smoking ban were found in each.

On a visit to Time Out on 12th in Berwyn the lone patron and the bartender have lit cigarettes in their hands.

A “no smoking” sign greets you as you enter Boem Restaurant on the North side, but last weekend the room was thick with cigarette smoke. Even though WGNTV had no problem entering the bar, the bar’s owner said it was a private party and she thought it was exempt from the law. It is not.

If a business is found to have violated the law the fine begins at $250. If an individual is found to violate the law, fines begin at $100. But this is a complaint driven law. If no one complains about smoking in a bar or restaurant authorities don’t know about it.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments are responsible for enforcing the law. Since it took effect, there have been more than 2700 complaints of smoking indoors in the seven-county Chicago area.

But only a fraction of those complaints has lead to fines. Authorities will first send a warning or educational letter. If that’s ignored, inspectors are then called out to visit the offending establishment. Only $7700 in total fines issued have been paid so far.

“It’s an issue of manpower. There just aren’t enough resources to do (follow up),” said Kelly Jakubek of the Illinois Dept of Public Health.

Violating the act is a personal affront to Sabrina Lockett.

“The law is the law,” says Lockett, a veteran restaurant employee who suffers from asthma. “It makes me very frustrated.”

And as the law stands, violators can’t be caught without a complaint.

“We certainly want to work with them, and that they understand the laws” says Harold Wimmer of the American Lung Assoc.

But bar owner Pat Carroll says it’s a matter of survival. His bar is steps away from the state line, a smoking State.

“I lose customers to Indiana for smoking I might as well let them smoke,” he says. “I’m going to pay the fine anyway.”

If you want to file a complaint against an establishment you feel is in violation of the smoking ban, you can call 1-866-973-4646.

November 24, 2009

MORNING NEWS POLL: Should overweight college students be required to take a fitness class to graduate?
Yes: 29%
No: 71%

MIDDAY NEWS POLL: Do you research the safety of children’s products before you purchase them?
Yes: 36%
No: 64%

NEWS AT NINE POLL: Should the ban on smoking in bars be repealed?
Yes: 65%
No:35 %


Read more: IL State Update Page 7

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