INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Frustrated Marion County bar and tavern owners continue their fight to overturn the smoking ban, which went into effect July 1 of last year.
A lawsuit was filed in Federal Court in May. A hearing was held in October. And while you haven't heard much about it since then, the owners are still fighting, both to stay in business and stop the law.
The "open" sign is still on at the Catilina Tavern on East Washington Street - but barely.
"It's really really bad. I'm telling you, we're just squeaking by," says owner Joe Wilson.
For 30 years, Wilson made a living at the Cantina. The Marion County smoking ban he says changed his business dramatically. Now he keeps the doors open only so his employees will have a place to work.
"If I didn't own the building I'd be sunk you know," says Wilson.
And Wilson points out, some area bars, as many as seven say local owners, have closed since the smoking ban began officially July 1. And he says, a hope for a quick ruling in a federal lawsuit filed by a couple of dozen owners hasn't happened.
"We were expecting an answer sometime the last of October 1 of November and here it is March and we still don't have no answer." says Wilson.
The owners have not given up. They've formed the Indy Tavern League and they meet every other week.
"Tavern owners are organizing to try and stick up for our own rights, and protect the rights of small business," says Steve Neal, President of the Indy Tavern League and owner of Hary C's.
But as they've found out, fighting city hall, no matter how it's done, takes time.
"The big places. The chain operated jobs, they're going to do great. But, the little neighborhood places is the one's that's going to suffer," says Joe Wilson.
And still no ruling on the lawsuit. The last court action was in December, and that was written briefs filed by both sides with the judge. The tavern owners remain hopeful they can win. But if they don't, they are already talking about a plan to appeal.
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