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Associated Press, Published October 28 2010

Bismarck bar smoke ban will go to public vote

BISMARCK – A new city ordinance banning smoking in Bismarck bars will go to a public vote.

The city has certified referral petitions submitted by a group of bar workers. The City Commission on Tuesday night directed City Attorney Charlie Whitman to draft a ballot measure.

The commission on Nov. 9 will consider setting a date for the vote. Commissioners can wait until the next regular city election in June 2012 or schedule a special city election.

The ban was to have taken effect Monday but was put on hold.

Advocates say smoking restrictions are needed to protect nonsmoking bar employees from secondhand smoke. Opponents say a ban would infringe on personal choices and threaten the livelihood of bars.

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