A new analysis by the Wisconsin Tavern League suggests the state's impending smoke-free law may not put an end to smoking in enclosed areas, and could marginally undercut Madison's existing ban.
"If an outdoor structure has four solid walls and no permanent roof, as opposed to a tarp or removable roof, it would not meet the definition of an enclosed area and smoking would be permitted," says the group's final analysis, posted on its website (PDF).
Madison City Attorney Michael May thinks the group is correct in concluding that a structure with no roof is considered outdoors. He's not sure if the city's ordinance addresses this issue or "whether we would agree that a tarp or removable roof qualifies as no roof."
The state's "ban" does not become effective until July 2010, so that gives the city plenty of time to ponder definitions. May says an assistant will conduct a review to make sure the city's law conforms to the state's.
It has to. The state's law, May notes, "does preempt the city's ability to regulate outdoor smoking, unless it is a public facility. Thus we will have to follow the state law on what is outdoors."
Smoking tents, anyone?