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Montana’s Health Board Starts to Weigh Casino Smoke Room Rules

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On April 1, 2015 an article was published by The Great Falls Tribune, entitled “Health Board Starts to Weigh Casino Smoke Room Rules”.  The Montana Supreme Court ruled in late February that the smoke shelters built at two Great Falls casinos violated Montana’s Clean Indoor Air Act because small vents on the sides weren’t sufficient to turn the four-walled rooms required for gambling into the partially open structures that might be allowed for smoking rooms.  In overturning a Great Falls district judge’s ruling, the high court also said the smoke structures are part of workplaces, even if they’re not open to the general public, and violate the clean air act.

The City-Council Health Board of Great Falls, Montana voted Wednesday, April 1, 2015:

  • To have its staff send letters to all county taverns and casinos explaining the court ruling and clean air act.
  • To turn down a request by District Judge Greg Pinski, the original trial judge in the case, to serve as a mediator seeking common ground between casino owners and public health officials in a closed-door session. After holding a closed door, executive session of their own, health board members said they would rather have broad public discussions of the issues than a closed mediation.
  • To begin the process of creating simple and specific rules about what might be legal in casino smoke shelters.