Judge Strikes Louisville Smoking Ban

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - As Churchill Downs goes, so goes Louisville, according to a circuit judge who struck down a citywide smoking ban citing an exemption for the famed horse track.

A Jefferson Circuit Judge ruled Friday that because an exemption in the smoking ban crafted for Churchill Downs was unconstitutional, the entire law was illegal.

"Only after voting that Churchill Downs would keep its exemption did the Council pass the Smoke Free Law; the converse of this fact is that the Council would not have passed a Smoke Free Law devoid of said exemption," Judge Steven Ryan wrote.

The decision hinged on a previous court ruling, from November, that struck down the exemption allowing smoking in some parts of the historic racetrack.

The ruling means the city cannot cite smokers, restaurants or bars for allowing patrons to light up inside.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said he will push to get a complete indoor smoking ban in place by Jan. 10. Abramson said he will call the council into session next week to start the process.

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