Smoking to be illegal? (No, the other kind of smoking)
A DC-area NBC affiliate is suggesting that the General Assembly is moving toward passing the anti-smoking legislation championed by Roanoke senator Brandon Bell, which would effectively outlaw smoking in restaurants and other indoor public spaces and slap smokers with a $100 fine for a first offense.
A hidden implication of SB1161 is that it would also ban smoking in nightclubs. That's because state laws prohibit bars from deriving more than 65 percent of their total income from alcohol. Food and nonalcoholic beverage sales must account for such a large portion of the sales that all nightlife establishments effectively qualify as "restaurants."
Opponents of the bill point out that business owners are free to ban smoking in their establishments individually; that's precisely what Starr Hill's upstairs concert hall did a few months ago.
The The Richmond Times-Dispatch notes that similar legislation was simultaneously shot down in the House.