Galveston Smoking Ban Ends Up In Court

They've banned smoking in bars and restaurants in Galveston, but the owners of those places aren't going along quietly.

A group of them are suing the city and individual city council members, saying that proper procedure was not followed in passing the ban into law last July.

Those who are familiar with the Galveston courts will not be surprised to learn that the plaintiffs are represented by Anthony Griffin, a guy who enjoys a good court battle.

The lawsuit includes about 20 bars and restaurants.

The plaintiffs say the city was told it would have to conduct a study to determine the financial hit the ban might have on affected businesses, but refused to do so.

"The city cannot willfully violate the provisions of Texas law in the passage of the ordinance and then enforce the provisions of the ordinance," the suit says. It also says the ordinance is overly broad as written and favors some businesses over others.

The ban has been in effect since January 1 of this year. At least one of the plaintiffs, the Galveston County Daily News reports, invested in an outdoor deck thinking smoking would be allowed there, but the ordinance bans smoking in such areas, and within 15 feet of the entrance to affected businesses.

The suit calls for the ban to be overturned while the court case is underway.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly