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Smoking bill withdrawn, likely to be back

By: JOHN SCHROYER
February 12, 2009
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DENVER • A bill to allow smoking in casinos and racetracks has been pulled by its sponsor, but will likely return in the 2010 legislative session.

Rep. Don Marostica, R-Loveland, said he decided not to propose the controversial measure this year mainly because of difficulties with the language.

As written, he said, it could be interpreted to mean that bars and restaurants could apply for cigar bar status, which Marostica didn't want.

Under the 2006 Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking is banned in all establishments except cigar bars. Only cigar bars that were in existence before 2005 can allow smoking indoors, and there is no clear process for licensing new cigar bars. That's one thing Marostica hopes to change.

As Marostica envisions it, the bill would allow casinos and racetracks to construct their own cigar bars, complete with humidors and their own ventilation system. The particulars, however, were too difficult to work out this year.

"The way we drafted the bill, it was just too difficult to pull it out in committee," said Marostica. "It'll be back next year."

Critics, including many Democrats, had sworn to oppose the bill this year, painting it as a rollback of the smoking ban.

 

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