(KCPW News) Tomorrow, Utah smokers will no longer be able to light up in bars and private clubs. Attorney Lisa Marcy with the Utah Hospitality Association says club owners are divided on the smoking ban, and the organization recognizes that second hand smoke is undoubtedly a health hazard. Still, she says owners already face slim profit margins, and in an economy where spending is down, this will also hurt them financially.
"This will have another negative effect on the private clubs," said Marcy. "Having said that, there's nothing they can do about it except tighten their belts, just like we're all doing, and focus more on the big issue right now, which is the elimination of the requirement for private club memberships."
The issue of private club memberships may prove to be contentious in the upcoming legislative session, with Republicans already declaring their opposition to Governor Huntsman's proposal to eliminate them.
Marcy says some lawmakers appear to be adopting a knee-jerk reaction against it, unlike the governor.
"Perhaps they're not necessarily focused on what the actual facts are, and what our position is," said Marcy. "The governor, on the other hand, has been gathering data for months from both sides … to make an informed decision about what position he wants to take."
Marcy says by eliminating the membership requirement, employees will be able to scrutinize ID cards more effectively because they'll no longer have to explain memberships to those who don't understand them.