Casper's Amended Smoking Ban Takes Effect

by K2 News Desk, 
Smokers can once again light up in Casper bars. As of Friday, the city's amended smoking ban ordinance was officially published, allowing smoking in some Casper bars. 
Several organizations are already leading the charge to potentially repeal the amended ban. On Friday morning, Smoke Free Natrona County and other groups began collection petition signatures to force a public vote on the ban. According to law, organizers could not start collecting signatures until the ordinance was officially published. 
The anti-smoking groups now have 20 days to collect at least 2,465 signatures from registered voters in Casper. The amount of required signatures represents 10% of all voters who went to the polls during the 2012 election. If enough signatures are collected, a special election will be held at the end of August.
Last week, Casper City Council voted 5-4 to amend the city's controversial ban. Under the amendments, bars, lounges, and healthcare facilities are exempt from the smoking ban. After being passed just over a year ago, the original ban went into effect in September of 2012. 
While organizers are collecting signatures, local bars that originally allowed smoking are celebrating the amended ban's publication. The Sandbar Lounge was scheduled to host a "lighting up party" on Friday night. Some bar owners, including the Sandbar's owner, have claimed that the smoking ban has hurt their business and has pushed customers to other establishments outside city limits.