The Sioux City councilman who proposed an ordinance banning smoking at the local casino is answering criticism of the effort by a top state lawmaker. Senate Democratic leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs suggested Sioux City’s leaders would be on shaky legal ground by enacting the ordinance. 

Gronstal says the legislature didn’t repeal the state law that prohibits local governments from adopting smoking ordinances. But Sioux City councilman, Brent Hoffman disagrees.

"While we couldn’t make a more loose definition or requirement of that smoke free act, we certainly could make a more stringent one," Hoffman says, "but I’m not convince that Mr. Gronstal is correct in his criticism. Hoffman says the city needs to take action to ensure that all businesses are treated the same.

Hoffman says he proposed the ordinance because he feels the new law offers an unfair advantage to casinos versus other businesses. "And our fundamental responsibility is to treat all businesses fairly and equitably regardless of circumstance and situations, and I feel it’s beholden upon us to do that," Hoffman says. He says to make the decision based solely on financial considerations, "is simply unfair."

The statewide smoking ban is set to take effect on July 1st and would include most public areas, except for casino gambling floors.