Keep St. Louis Free Scores Victory ... in Springfield

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Speaking of smoking bans, I got an email from our old friend Bill Hannegan at Keep St. Louis Free yesterday. As you'll recall, Hannegan and his group fought a diligent battle last year to stop smoking-ban legislation in St. Louis County and city.

And while Keep St. Louis Free came up short on those efforts, the group recently scored a victory in Springfield, Missouri, in helping topple a strict new smoking ban for that city. The law would have strengthened Springfield's pre-existing 2003 smoking ban by prohibiting tobacco use in all businesses -- including cigar shops -- as well as private clubs.

Earlier this week Hannegan fired off a letter to the Springfield City Council warning about the ramifications of such a ban, and on Monday he was quoted extensively in the Springfield Business Journal dissecting the proposal.

And it seems that Hannegan's message -- echoed by dozens of Springfield business owners -- got through. At Monday's city council meeting sponsors of the stricter smoking ban withdrew their proposal.

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