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Kansas Supreme Court Rules on Gannon vs. State of Kansas

March 7, 2014, Kansas Health Institute

The state's top court released its long-awaited decision in the school finance case, finding that the lower court partially erred in its conclusion and remanding it for further consideration. But the ruling also stated that the lower court properly found that the state's funding mechanism had created "unconstitutional, wealth-based disparities" among school districts. The justices partially reversed the decision of the three-judge trial court and remanded the part back to them to "correctly test the facts" to make an adequacy determination.

Basically, according to Martin Hawver, the high court told the lower court to demand by July full funding—or changes in current statutes—of capital outlay subsidies to school districts and also local option budget provisions.

Key: The court in its action has told the Legislature to either fully fund current statutes on capital outlay and local option budgets, or to change the law so that whatever appropriation is made meets the strict letter of that law.

Click the Kansas Health Institute website below for a summary and a full 110 page decision.

Link to KHI website

NRA-backed bill would restrict anti-smoking programs

Members of the NRA and the Kansas State Rifle Association lined up in support of a bill Wednesday that would bar state money from going to lobby against "legal products." But a Democratic senator and a representative of the American Cancer Society say the bill would also scuttle anti-smoking campaigns and other proven public health programs.

Read the full article here. Published in the Topeka Capital Journal (1/6/13).

House bill would exempt business from smoking ban

A bill to significantly expand exemptions to the statewide smoking ban was introduced today in the Kansas House. House Bill 2219, would allow any private business to allow smoking provided it:

• employs only people age 21 years or older,

• posts signs stating that no one under 21 would be admitted, and

• posts signs stating that the business allows smoking.

The statewide smoking ban that began in 2010 currently exempts casino gaming floors, private clubs, retail tobacco shops, certain hotel rooms and designated spaces in adult long-term care facilities.

Read the full article here.  Article published in KHI News 1/5/13.

KHI Issue Brief: Impact of the Kansas Clean Indoor Air Act on Restaurants and Bars

This new issue brief examines whether a statewide smoking ban enacted in 2010 was associated with a change in sales at Kansas restaurants and bars. The Legislature approved the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act to protect the health of Kansans by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke in most public places. To examine the association between the statewide ban and restaurant and bar sales, the Kansas Health Institute gathered sales data and liquor license data for eight years before the statewide smoking ban took effect and for two full years after its implementation. This includes periods when local smoking bans covered some areas of Kansas before the statewide ban took effect.

Key findings highlighted in the brief include:

• Smoking bans have not been associated with decreased overall sales at Kansas restaurants and bars.

• Smoking bans have not been associated with a reduction in the number of Kansas establishments serving liquor.

• Studies from other states consistently conclude that smoking bans do not reduce sales at restaurants and bars.

Kansas Health Institute - 1-23-13. Click here for article and pdf attachment.

The baton passes - TFKC hires new executive director

The Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition (TFKC) Board of Directors concluded a thorough four month long search by selecting Linda J. De Coursey as TFKC’s new Executive Director to replace Mary Jayne Hellebust, who announced her retirement earlier this year.  Click here for full press release.

Anti-tobacco activists gather in Kansas city

The Kansas Health Institute electronic newsletter article gives an overview of last week's National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Kansas City.  It provides a national overview as well as a focus on the Smokefree Casino rally organized by Kansas and Missouri partners.

Sale of e-cigarettes to minors now illegal in Kansas

This Kansas City Star article from June 27 discusses the recent legislation that bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and bans the purchase and use of these products by those under the age of 18.

Wichita Eagle editorial challenges legislature to toss casino exemption

Today’s Wichita Eagle editorial details the recent Supreme Court decision on a lawsuit that would have opened up newly licensed private clubs to smoking. In reviewing that decision, the editorial points out the necessity and the logic for bringing in casinos under the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Law. It notes that “it remains up to the Legislature to toss out the hypocritical exemption for state-owned casinos.” At the time of this posting, the comments commending such action outnumber those who favor unlimited access to smoking.

Supreme Court denies injunctive relief in a lawsuit challenge from a Class B private club

This Kansas Health Institute article details the Kansas Supreme Court's recent decision on an unjuntion for a lawsuit that could potentially open up additional private clubs to having smoking in their establishments.  The Clean Air Law provided a a licensing date for private clubs as January 1, 2009 to provide existing clubs the opportunity to request a smoking exemption unless such an exemption was prohibited by local policy.  The Supreme Court decision returns the suit to the district court for any further action, although at this point, the plaintiffs may not see any potential for further action at this time.

Roll-your-own cigarette machines "locked down" by state fire marshal

Roll-your-own cigarette machines that have been appearing in cities across Kansas have recently been shut by order of the Kansas fire marshal on grounds that the cigarettes produced by the machines do not meet required state standards to be firesafe. "Agents with the Kansas Department of Revenue have shut down the operations of about 20 businesses across the state that offer “roll your own cigarette” services, after state regulators determined the sites were operating as unlicensed manufacturers of tobacco products."   This recent article in the Lawrence Journal World also outlines objections from the owners of these machines who believe that the action is based on loss of cigarette tax revenues that are collected from cigarettes provided by tobacco companies.  This effort involved the collaboration of the Kansas Attorney General, the State Fire Marshal and the Department of Revenue.

Wichita Eagle supports making casinos smokefree

The February 7, 2012 editorial outlines  reasons for making casinos smokefree noting the importance of healthy environments for all workers, including casino employees.  It also reminds readers that 77% of Kansans supported the clean air law, that many other states have smokefree casinos, that ventilation systems do not clear the air, and that smoking-related diseases are driving up health costs in Kansas.  The editorial clearly makes the case for it being the right time now to stop the hypocrasy of providing an exemption for state-owned casinso.

This Richard Crowson editorial cartoon pictures the filtering system for smoke at casinos as being provided by employees' lungs.

Legislative hearing again focuses on removing the smoking exemption for state-owned casinos in KS

The Wichita Eagle article from February 3, 2012 outlines the arguments related to the hearing to ban smoking in public places.  Note the number of comments on this topic, with more people speaking in favor of removing the exemption for smoking on the casino floors of state-owned casinos in Kansas.  Last year the77% of Kansans favored the clean indoor air law. . . hopefully that support also extends to casinos so that all  employees  (and patrons) can be protected from the hazards of secondhand smoke in the workplace.

KSU adding new smoking restrictions to the campus

This Kansan Collegian article outlines the recent change in policlies related to smoking in dormitories and on the KSU campus.  The Association of Residence Halls has defined smoking to include e-cigarettes as well as hookah (now not allowed within the residence halls) and is making the ten individual residence halls responsible for determining the smokefree zones around those buildings.

Wichita controversary over the use of e-cigarettes

A local television feature follows a controversy over the use of e-cigarettes in the Intrust Arena in Wichita.  This product is not covered under the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Law, although some public health advocates are concerned about the materials in the product as well as those expelled through vapor.

Pittsburg State student group working toward a smokefree campus

This January 26, 2012 Pittsburg Sun article notes: "Gorillas in Your Midst, peer health education group at Pittsburg State University received the national award for Outstanding Creativity in Tobacco Control Programming for an anti-tobacco campaign it conducted on campus in 2010."� This student group which has been working to eliminate all secondhand smoke exposure on the campus grounds has succeeded in gathering sufficient names on a petition to set up a vote on the issue in November.

KPR Feature on Kansas Funding for Tobacco Control

Kansas Public Radio on January 17, 2012, posted an audio feature contrasting the amount of funding Kansas receives from tobacco revenues and the Master Settlement Agreement with the very small amount allocated to reducing tobacco use prevalence with its devastating health and economic impact on the state.

Governor's budget recommendation still at $1 million for smoking prevention

Governor Brownback’s FY 2013 budget maintains the $1.0 million in funding for KDHE grants related to smoking prevention. There had been some concerns that the amount might be reduced this year. Although comprehensive tobacco control programming certainly needs additional funding, at least this year there have been no cut backs. 

Smoking conflicts snuffs SE Kansas gambling reforms

The fuse of controversy was lit when the statewide indoor smoking ban was manipulated to exclude gambling floors of state-sanctioned casinos. It's red-carpet treatment for casino lobbyists who serve corporations specializing in reaching the pleasure center of customers, whether these gamblers are choking on their own cigarette plume or the second-hand exhalation of someone sitting nearby. The exclusion also defines complicity of anti-tobacco advocates who caved on the exemption as the political price to be paid in 2009 for adoption of a statewide smoking ban. Click here for full article which was printed in the Topeka Capital Journal - 12/29/11.

KS Supreme Court hears private club smoking appeal

On December 7, 2011, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments on an appeal of a district court decison on a temporary injunction that allowed a private club to maintain a smokefree facility.  The Kansas Attorney General's office presented arguments that the private club fell under the restrictions of the 2010 Kansas Indoor Clean Air Law. This Kansas Health Institute article details the discussion some of which centered on questions as to the timing of an appeal on a temporary injunction or on the permanent injunction.  The justices also asked questions as to what extent legislative intent could be questioned when issues of fairness of laws are involved.

CDC’s Dr. Terry Pechacek’s tobacco plenary presentation September 22, 2011 in Wichita at the Kansas Public Health Conference focused on the slowing of the rate of tobacco use rates by both adults and youth because of a proliferation of products that promote the use of both cigarettes and other tobacco products including snus, tobacco sticks, orbs, etc. The article notes the Dr. Pechacek outlined how “Industry marketing of smokeless tobacco as a way ‘to get your fix when you can't smoke’ has undermined cessation rates in smoke-free states, especially among youth.”

Article available at Kansas Health Institute - Sept. 23, 2011

For a full copy of Dr. Pechacek’s powerpoint presentation click here.

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