Eight more bars in the state are facing complaints for violating Iowa’s Smoke-Free Air Act. Bill Roach, with the Iowa Attorney General’s office, says the complaints were filed in the last nine days and seek to temporarily revoke the businesses’ liquor licenses.
There have now been 38 smoking violation complaints filed since the law took effect in July 2008. The latest complaints involve four bars in Burlington – the Beer Tent, the Crazy Coyote, the Paddlewheel Lounge and Summer Street Station. The other bars are Larry Bob’s Oasis in Davenport, My Sister’s Place in Carlisle, Packers Inn in Waterloo and Pit Row Sports Bar and Grill in Eddyville.
"I think that they are largely examples of situations where people are just choosing not to the follow the law," Roach said. "We will pursue those on kind of a case by case basis as the facts in each case determine." So far, the Iowa Department of Public Health has fielded 917 complaints about businesses suspected of violating the smoking ban. Roach says that’s a relatively small number when you consider the law covers nearly 82,000 businesses.
"Overwhelmingly, the public supports this law," Roach said. "Certainly, business owners are supporting it. Only about one-percent of businesses in Iowa have had some kind of (smoking violation) complaint." In most cases, the owners of the bars that are at-risk of losing their liquor licenses are waiting for a hearing before an administrative law judge. In other cases, the judge has yet to render a decision.
Roach says his office is also willing to negotiate with the bars. He says a recent settlement resulted in the bar agreeing to a liquor license suspension of seven days and a $1,000 fine. That settlement involved a bar in Ottumwa called The Keg.