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Petition challenges city smoking ban

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Opponents of Springfield's indoor smoking ban yesterday turned in an initiative petition challenging the law approved by voters in April 2011.

Dave Myers of Live Free Springfield said the group gathered more than 4,000 signatures; 2,101 signatures must be certified in order to pass the petition to Springfield City Council, according to a news release.

The petition aims at returning smoking to certain businesses and spaces, the release said. City spokeswoman Cora Scott could not be reached for more information by deadline, and the city clerk's office did not send a copy of the initiative petition by deadline.

The city clerk's office has 20 days to certify the signatures. If too many signatures are found to be invalid, petitioners will have 10 days to gather more.

If the petition is certified, City Council will have the option to adopt it or pass it to a vote of the people in the next possible municipal election, which could be June. If there are no other issues on the ballot, the city would fully fund the election at an estimated cost of $100,000, the release said.

In a separate news release, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Association and One Air Alliance expressed their opposition to the petition, saying it goes against the will of the people in the 2011 election.

"This deliberate attempt to circumvent the will of the people is unacceptable," the release reads. "The people of Springfield want protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces, for themselves, their families and future generations."

Of the votes tallied for the smoking issue, there were 11,201 yes votes, or 53.4 percent, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

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