Smoke Ban Unenforceable
FT. WAYNE, INDIANA - An Allen County judge has ruled that a hotly contested ordinance banning smoking in Ft. Wayne restaurants is constitutional but unenforceable.
Allen Superior Court Judge Daniel Heath's ruling on Friday rejected restaurant owners' arguments that the law was unconstitutional, vague and forced undue hardships on them.
However, Heath found that the penalty clause of the ordinance conflicts with state law, ruling that while the ordinance can stand, the city cannot punish anyone for violating it.
The ordinance, which took effect in May 1999, allows smokers not complying with "No Smoking" signs in a restaurant to be fined $100, and restaurant owners to be fined up to $500 for each offense.
The ordinance will remain unenforceable until the penalty clause is amended, the ruling said.
"The City Council has to go back and revisit the whole issue of enforcement," said attorney Alan VerPlanck, who represents restaurant owners opposing the law.