Smoking Ban Petition Drive Falls Short

by K2 New Desk, 
    Liz Cooper, 
The effort to put Casper's amended smoking ban on the ballot has fallen 61 signatures short. 
Those opposed to the exceptions in the ban that were passed by City Council last month needed to collect 2,554 signatures. However, all of those signatures had to be from registered voters living in the city of Casper.
Although petition organizer Smokefree Natrona County turned in more than 3,000 signatures, it was still not enough of a cushion. According to city officials, only 78% of all collected signatures were acceptable.
Officials say it took two teams of two people to confirm all signatures. Those teams worked up to seven hours a day.
Casper City Council last year passed a ban that outlawed smoking in virtually all indoor public places. But after last November's elections, the new council decided to exempt bars, healthcare facilities and private clubs not open to the public from the smoking ban. 
A handful of bars have returned to allowing smoking since the amended ordinance went into effect a couple of weeks ago. But most bars in the city still are smoke free.