Hutchinson City Council Considers Expanded Smoking Ban

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Four years after banning smoking in restaurants, the city of Hutchinson is considering taking the ban one step further by including other public buildings.

Smoking opponents would like to get the Hutchinson smoking ban expanded to include bars like the Polo Sports Lounge. They have asked the city council to make it happen.

"My suggestion was that we adopt a limited but more expanded smoking ban than we've got," said Hutchinson's Mayor, Trish Rose.

Mayor Rose suggested excluding bars and clubs from the expanded ban. Some club owners say a smoking ban would hurt their business.

The mayor's concern is that Hutchinson could wind up with a complete smoking ban, similar to that adopted by Manhattan, with no exemptions.

Some council members want to know why they should fix something that isn't broken.

"I would just like to leave it like it is and not add to it," said Hutchinson council memer, David Razo.

"What we have is working and there are very few complaints about it from restaurants or any other source that their business is being enfringed upon or that their right to make an honest living is being hurt," said council member Bob Bush.

The council has also considered putting an expanded ban to a non-binding vote at the city's April general election, but legal obstacles to that arose and the issue of civil rights came up.

In the end, there was no burning desire among enough council members to expand smoking restrictions.

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