Rhode Island may amend smoking ban after unconstitutionality ruling

Rhode Island may amend smoking ban after unconstitutionality ruling

[JURIST] Lawmakers in Rhode Island [JURIST news archive] have said that they will consider amending the statewide smoking ban that took effect last month [JURIST report] in light of a Newport Superior Court judge's Thursday ruling that certain exemptions in the law were irrational, and therefore unconstitutional. The Public Health and Workplace Safety Act [text] includes temporary exemptions for certain establishments, including private clubs and small bars that don't prepare their own food, with only ten or fewer employees. Judge Stephen Fortunato found those provisions unconstitutional but let stand exemptions for Rhode Island's gambling facilities. Reacting to the decision, state lawmakers said that they might be willing to reconsider the exemptions, which were initially included to help ensure the bill's passage. AP has more.