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Smoking hearing to have one issue to be decided

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - When parties gather on Thursday to litigate the issue of a smoking ban imposed by the Bullitt County Board of Health, only one concern will be addressed.

Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress agreed Monday that the lone issue to be discussed during the bench trial would be whether the Board of Health has the legal right to impose regulations or ordinances.

Earlier this year, the Bullitt County Board of Health imposed a no-smoking policy in public places. The ban is supposed to go into effect in September.

After passage by the board, Bullitt Fiscal Court and the eight municipalities joined together to challenge the action.

That will be heard on Thursday in Bullitt Circuit Court.

During a hearing Monday morning, attorney John Spainhour, representing the county attorney’s office, stated that the defendants should not be allowed to enter evidence taken from a public survey.

Spainhour said none of the parties argue that there is not health concerns over smoking and second-hand smoke.

However, Spainhour said he feared that outside information, such as the surveys, might muddy the single issue of whether the board of health has the right to impose such a ban.

The plaintiffs argue that this is a legislative matter that should be done by ordinance through the fiscal court or the cities.

An attorney for the defendants did not disagree with the arguments by Spainhour on the need for the surveys. Those were done to reflect the feelings of the community.

“It is not our intent to decide whether it is a good or a bad policy,” said Spainhour.

Burress agreed to exclude the survey results as a part of the record being considered on Thursday.