Last updated 9:32PM ET
December 11, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Orio's Smoking Law Challenge Heard, Not Decided
(2007-01-18)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: A Durango Bar owner challenging Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act will have to wait another week to ten days before learning if his business will remain exempt from the law.
In the meantime, it appears state lawmakers will wrestle with the "no smoking" law again this year.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: The clean indoor air act, which passed last years legislature, exempts a handful of businesses.
Among them, tobacco bars.
It defines a tobacco bar as a business that realizes 5-percent of its income from tobacco sales and has a humidor available for rent.
The sole issue before District Judge David Dickinson is whether the law requires one condition or the other, or both...
In a nutshell, does "and" mean "and" or "or".
Orio's Roadhouse owners Rob and Heidi Orio have allowed smoking after showing they met the tobacco sales requirement.
But District Attorney Craig Westberg is challenging Orio's exemption saying the law requires they have a humidor as well.
Deputy district attorney Reggie Short told Judge Dickinson during a hearing Wednesday, the intent of legislators was to require both conditions.
To buttress his case he called former state representative Mark Larson, who co-sponsored the measure, to testify during the hearing.
Larson insisted Orio's is outside the legislature's intent.
LARSON: I DO RECOGNIZE THAT WE PROBABLY COULD HAVE BEEN A LITTLE BIT TIRED ON THE DRAFTING OF THE LANGUAGE, IT IS A HEALTH ISSUE, I UNDERSTAND WHERE ORIO'S IS TRYING TO PROTECT THEIR CLIENTELE AND THEIR REVENUE, BUT I ALSO UNDERSTAND HOW WE DRAFTED THE BILL AND WHAT THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT WAS, AND I THINK THE JUDGE HAS A TOUGH DECISION TO MAKE.
Orio's attorney Todd Risberg objected to Larson even testifying saying Larson's intent may not necessarily represent the intent of all lawmakers, who should fix the bill.
RISBERG: I HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT FOR REPRESENTATIVE LARSON, I WISH HIM WELL, BUT I THINK HIS TESTIMONY REFLECTS THE DISAGREEMENTS THAT HAPPENED AND THE COMPROMISES THAT HAPPENED IN PASSING LAWS AND THIS LAW IS THE RESULT OF ONE OF THOSE COMPROMISES. I THINK THAT THE STATUTE DOES NEED SOME CLARIFICATION. IT WILL BE UP TO THEM ON WHAT THEY CLARIFY AND HOW THEY CLARIFY IT, BUT AGAIN IT WILL BE ANOTHER POLITICAL BRAWL AND COMPROMISE THAT WILL COME OUT OF THAT.
Dickinson says he'll rule in a week or so if Larsons testimony can be allowed, and he could issue a decision on the humidor question as well at that time.
Whatever the judge rules, it won't mean the end of Rob and Heidi Orio's case.
Freshman Durango State Representative Ellen Roberts has introduced House Bill 1108 to clean up the statewide no smoking law, and define when "and" means "and" and not "or."
ROBERTS: WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THE INTENT WAS HUMIDORS WERE INTENDED TO BE A REQUIREMENT FOR ANYBODY GETTING AN EXEMPTION AND AGAIN THIS IS INFORMATION I'VE BEEN GATHERING IN THE LAST MONTH AND A HALF, DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO WERE PART OF THE DEBATE. AND IT WAS AN "AND" THAT WAS INTENDED, AND NOT THE "OR" SO THAT IS WHAT THIS DEFINITION WILL DO IS SET THAT STRAIGHT.
Roberts says the bill will also refine the definition of a Tobacco bar, to mean a business that sells cigars or cigar tobacco products, specifically excluding cigarettes.
It will also specify the state revenue department or local home rule governments, if they so choose, would be responsible for determining whether a business meets the exemption requirements.
Robert's bill would continue to require businesses to qualify for the business as of December 31st 2005 meaning Orio's could be forced, as it has in the past, to go smokeless despite the outcome of it's case in district court.
Passage though is uncertain.
And Roberts isn't the only bill proposing change to the Clean Indoor Air Act.
A separate bill has been introduced to remove an exemption from the law for casinos, which could both muddy and enliven debate on public smoking once again during this 120 day legislative session.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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