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Smokefree Rule Snuffed Out

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Ninth District Judge Tim Day yesterday ruled Teton County’s Smokefree Air Rule of 2009 to be void and unenforceable.  That rule would have prohibited smoking from areas including sports arenas (except in designated areas away from the general public), chair lift lines, outdoor restaurant patios and decks, public transportation terminals, or outdoor service lines. There rule also required a 20-foot buffer zone prohibiting smoking around all doors, windows, ventilation systems and outdoor seating areas.  According to the court record, the controversy arose as a complaint for declaratory judgment filed by Flat Creek Development Company which is the parent company of The Virginian Saloon in Jackson which said the company anticipated a loss of business due to the rule and would also suffer costs for compliance and prosecution should clients not comply with the measure.  In his decision, Judge Day said he ruled against the ordinance on two grounds:  first, that the county’s District Board of Health exceeded its rulemaking authority by enacting the ordinance without clear direction from the state legislature; and second, that they made their decision in an area that is to be regulated by the State Department of Health.  With Day’s ruling, the Smoke Free Air Rule no longer stands in Teton County.

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