The first hearing against an Iowa bar for violating the state’s new smoking ban is today at the State Alcoholic Beverages Division in Ankeny. The Attorney General filed a complaint against Otis Campbell’s Bar and Grill in West Burlington after the state received nearly 50 complaints against the bar and police officers witnessed violations.
Bar owner Larry Duncan told a legislative committee a few weeks ago that he ignored the ban on purpose. Duncan says, "I’ve been a law abiding citizen for 67 years, nine years on a local school board, five as president, I have not abused the law — but this law I felt was unconstitutional to start with." Duncan told the legislators he looks forward to his day in court.
"I got into this to start with because I personally felt the law was unconstitutional. I went across the street to our police department and mayor -told them I didn’t want to show them up in any way shape or form and I asked them if we could just cut through this and get the three warnings get a citation get it to court let the people decide and I felt this would have all been taken care of 90 days ago," Duncan says.
Duncan believes the law wrongly hurts his business. He asks why he should as a small businessperson be forced to come up with thousands of dollars to defend something he thinks is not right. The case will be heard by an administrative law judge, and the judge will then recommend a penalty to the Alcoholic Beverages Division Administrator. The Administrator could levy up to a one thousand dollar fine, or suspend or revoke Duncan’s liquor license.