A Polk County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Iowa Bar Owners Coalition that questioned the constitutionality of the state’s ban on smoking in most public places. The Iowa Attorney General’s office was preparing to defend the state at trial, which was scheduled to start June 30th.
A.G.’s office spokesperson Bob Brammer says they felt the case might be thrown out after a judge denied a preliminary injunction last summer to block the law from taking effect until the lawsuit was settled. "We were hopeful that the court would dismiss this and there were signs last month that they would dismiss it," Brammer said.
"We understand the plaintiffs had informed the court that their lawyer had withdrawn and the court made it clear that the case might be dismissed." The fight over the Smokefree Air Act is far from over.
Over 40 liquor license enforcement actions are pending before the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. Brammer says some of those bar owners are hoping to take their cases to court. "It’s possible constitutional issues could come up…a couple of cases that have gone the farthest have asked for judicial review by the courts and the courts have yet to announce whether they’ll take up those matters," Brammer said.
The bars that have filed petitions for judicial review are Fro’s in Wilton and Otis Campbell’s Bar in West Burlington. The owner of Fro’s, Brian Froehlich, is part of the Iowa Bar Owners Coalition.