The Wisconsin Tavern League says it's the wrong time to be proposing a statewide smoking ban.
The governor included a proposed statewide ban in his budget, but Tavern League lobbyist Scott Stenger says it's the wrong way to implement such a sweeping change. Stenger says it's a comprehensive change in state policy and including it in the budget makes it harder to negotiate.
The proposal would require bars and restaurants to go smoke free two months after the budget is passed. Stenger says it's unrealistic to expect taverns to prepare for such a change so quickly. He says many are already struggling to stay open in this tough economy, and a ban could drive away their remaining customers.
Stenger says they're open to a statewide ban, if it includes a phase-in period for taverns. He says their members are willing to sit down and discuss a compromise. However, he says it should be done in a separate bill instead of the state budget.