Wednesday, January 17, 2007

vets smoking over ban, thought they were a private club

Veterans upset over inclusion of VFW halls in smoking ban--From the Dayton DAILY NEWS--Once again, they've been sold out by the REMFs. Check out the whiner who collects a paycheck yet whines "We have no control...we're hamstrung..."

COLUMBUS — Military veterans who voted for Ohio's smoking ban feel betrayed now that the state Health Department says the law applies to private clubs that have employees, including VFW halls, a veterans group said Tuesday.

Members-only VFW halls, which veterans believed fell under an exemption clause that appeared on the November ballot, shouldn't have to comply, said William Seagraves, state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Ohio. He urged the state to change its draft rules for enforcing the ban.

Seagraves spoke out at a third meeting of bar owners, public health advocates and other business groups who are seeking to clarify how the law will be carried out. The smoking ban, which aims to protect nonsmokers and employees from secondhand smoke, took effect Dec. 7, but the state won't issue penalties until dozens of rules are finalized.

"How can the state tell veterans that they have no right to smoke in their private clubs?" asked Seagraves, whose group represents 424 VFW halls in Ohio. Socrates Tuch, legal counsel to the state Health Department, said that while the law has a provision exempting private clubs, it also says that all employers — businesses, associations or private entities — that have employees must comply. That includes private clubs, such as VFW halls, that have bartenders and wait staff, paid or unpaid, he said.

"We have no control over how the law is written," Tuch said. "We're not trying to dismiss these concerns, but we're hamstrung as to what we can do."

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