Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

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Judge to allow smoking lawsuit against LVCVA

CARSON CITY – A district judge has refused to dismiss a suit against the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority that involves a law permitting smoking at certain trade shows.

District Judge James Wilson ruled Monday that the American Cancer Society has standing to bring the suit, partly because citizens will suffer injury if smoking is allowed at the trade shows.

Cancer Society officials filed suit last December saying that people who go into convention centers during and after smoking is permitted will be exposed to harmful tobacco chemicals that can collect on walls, carpets, the ceiling and furnishings.

Voters in November 2006 passed the Nevada Indoor Clean Air Act prohibiting smoking in some indoor places.

The 2009 Legislature amended a stalking bill to permit smoking at trade shows that are not open to the public, are being produced by the tobacco industry or a professional association of convenience stores.

The Cancer Society filed suit, saying the indoor smoking law passed by voters couldn't be amended until December 2009. And it said the Assembly Bill was invalid because it contained two separate subjects – stalking and the smoking provision.

The LVCVA asked that the suit be dismissed because the Cancer Society didn't have standing. Lawrence Sands, chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, joined in the LVCVA's motion.

The Cancer Society argued it had standing because the law “will result in increased indoor secondhand smoke which causes cancer, thereby directly frustrating and impacting the society’s mission and purpose of fighting cancer.”

The Cancer Society says it could not get the Legislature to pass a ban on some indoor smoking so it took its case to the voters at the 2006 election.

Judge Wilson said the Cancer Society had standing to bring the suit on the allegation the Legislature illegally passed a bill with two subjects and the voter-passed law couldn't be amended until December 2009 because of the three-year limit.

There will be additional hearings on the merits of the allegations by the Cancer Society.

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