An Ames lawmaker wants to let cities and counties pass “no-smoking” ordinances that are more restrictive than state law. Senator Herman Quirmbach, a democrat from Ames, is sponsoring a bill to accomplish that goal. “My effort here is to restore local control on this,” Quirmbach says. “We have a tradition here of home rule and I think that this is an important element of it.” As you may recall, the city of Ames established a no-smoking ordinance for restaurants and bars in the city, but it was struck down by a court ruling as state law prohibits local governments from passing any smoking restrictions that are tougher than those outlined in state law. Quirmbach believes changing state law to allow cities like Ames and Iowa City to re-establish their no-smoking ordinances will prompt other cities to follow suit, and perhaps pave the way — eventually — for a state law that would bar smoking in restaurants and taverns. Quirbach says it’s worked in other states because restaurant and bar owners need to see that no-smoking restrictions do not hurt business, and Quirmbach says that’s been the case in other jurisdictions where no-smoking ordinances are in effect.
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