The Wisconsin Tavern League has continued to come out strongly against a proposed statewide smoking ban at the Capitol, saying it will kill businesses across the state. However, Madison-area bar owner Hawk Schenkel says the group only represents half the bar and taverns in the state, and many owners actually would like to see a ban enacted.
Schenkel says the ban in Madison has actually helped his business. He even added a second bar in the city after it took effect four years ago. Schenkel says it comes down to adding extra features to accommodate smokers, such as creating an outdoor area where smoking is allowed.
The Tavern League says a statewide ban will cause many loyal customers who smoke to stay home and drink, rather than go out to a bar. However, Schenkel says those bars have bigger problems if their best feature is that people can smoke there.
Schenkel also disagrees with arguments that implementation of the ban should be delayed for taverns by up to two years.
The Assembly held a hearing on the proposed ban Wednesday, and could advance it to the floor for a vote next week.
A compromise on a Senate version of the bill is expected to be announced later this afternoon, which could also receive a vote next week.