Wisconsin Governor Doyle signs smoking ban..

May 18, 2009 - Governor Jim Doyle signed a smoking ban Monday, making bars, restaurants and other workplaces smoke-free starting next summer, July 5, 2010. "It's time for every person in Wisconsin to breathe freely at restaurants, taverns, and workplaces across the state," Doyle said in a statement. "A smoke-free Wisconsin will save money in health care costs, improve public health and save lives."

A ban has been a top priority of Doyle's, but lawmakers were unable to reach a deal in the last two-year legislative session. The Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a compromise last week that bans smoking in virtually all workplaces but delays the start date until July 5, 2010 - later than Doyle and other supporters wanted.

The bill includes forfeitures of $100 to $250 for violations, but only after a first-time warning is issued. It also bars local governments from regulating outdoor smoking areas.

Indian-run casinos are exempt from the ban because lawmakers do not have the power to fully regulate them under federal law. Also exempt are existing cigar bars and specialty tobacco shops.

Existing local smoking bans - in Madison, Appleton, Eau Claire and 34 other communities - will remain in place until the state ban takes effect.

Reference: Doyle signs smoking ban measure by Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal, 5/18/2009.

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May 19, 2009 at 1:53 PM

At least it will go into effect as elections are looming in the future, then the voters can decide.