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Ky. Court Breathes New Life Into Smoke Free Law

(CN) - The Kentucky Court of Appeals reinstated Louisville's Smoke Free Law, saying it had been improperly wiped out based on its exemption for the Kentucky Derby site.

The Metro Louisville Hospitality Coalition and several local bingo halls convinced the circuit court that the Smoke Free Law's exemption for Churchill downs was unconstitutional.

But because the circuit court also struck down the severability clause, the entire Smoke Free Law was invalidated.

The Louisville government appealed, and Judge Moore reversed the decision.

"The circuit court invalidated the entire ordinance despite the severability clause, based on its determination that Metro Council would not have passed the Smoke Free Law without the exemption for Churchill Downs."

Moore said the circuit court should not have made that determination.

"If the ordinance at hand is not ambiguous," Moore wrote, "it would violate basic rules of statutory construction to consider the debates on the amendments to determine legislative intent."

Moore also ruled that the ordinance can stand on its own without the Churchill Downs exemption.

"The ordinance is not inseparably connected and dependent upon the exemption," Moore wrote, "such that it is apparent that Metro Council would not have enacted it in the absence of the exemption."

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