The lawyer representing bar owners who hope to overturn the state’s new smoking ban says the courts aren’t the only avenue of appeal he may pursue. Attorney George Eichhorn may petition the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee, too.
"It might happen. We don’t know right now," Eichhorn says. "We haven’t made that decision." That legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee reviews all the guidelines state agencies adopt to enforce laws — and that includes the rules the Department of Public Health came up with to enforce the new smoking ban.
It was in April when the legislature gave final approval to the smoking ban and the governor quickly approved it, so the ban would go into effect about two months later, on July 1st. Eichhorn says the health department took too long to write the rules for enforcing the law and had to submit them to the committee at the last minute, on an "emergency" basis.
"And the only emergency is they took longer than they should have. That defeats the public’s input into the rules," Eichhorn says. "It really disrupts the process, I think, that our administrative rules are supposed to go through." Eichhorn is a former state legislator who, coincidentally, used to be a member of the Administrative Rules Review Committee.