Legion makes case for members-only clubs to be exempt from smoking ban
The American Legion is trying to clear the air regarding how it feels about the smoking ban.
The state administration of the American Legion has filed a court brief, making their case to consider members-only club rooms and bars exempt from the ban.
The Legion isn't a plaintiff or defendant, but rather a third party that will be directly impacted by the court's answer to tavern owners and Smoke-free Ohio's pleas to prohibit private clubs from the exemption.
The original ballot language did say there would be an exemption for private clubs, but when the first draft of regulations were crafted, clubs were no longer exempt.
Now, after the second draft took effect earlier this week, the air isn't clear whether or not members-only portions of American Legion facilities must be smoke-free.
"I don't look for all of our posts to necessarily want smoking," said Don Lanthorn, department service director for the Legion's state office. "All we're asking is for the option."
If individual posts had that option, they could exercise their own prerogative if their bar and serving staff were club members.
Only about 20 percent of posts have liquor licenses with bars or club rooms.
"We're not really involved in the suit other than the decision will affect us," he said. "As a friend of the court, we want them to know how we feel so they can make an informed decision, otherwise we will be left out of the process."
A court in Columbus will hear the case.