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Keep Casper Smoke Free, City Still Waiting for Judge’s Decision

Daniel Barry, Getty Images

There’s still no word yet on whether Keep Casper Smoke Free’s suit against the city of Casper will proceed to trial after both sides met for a summary judgment hearing earlier this year.

“I’m as anxious to hear back from the judge as everybody else,” Keep Casper Smoke Free co-chairperson Kimberly Holloway said. “We’ve still got hope that this will go in our favor, and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Holloway says the case will go to trial if the judge rejects both summary judgment arguments that were made in February.

Keep Casper Smoke Free is trying to force the city to recount signatures gathered during a referendum petition drive last year after Casper City Council partially repealed a controversial public indoor smoking ban that had been in place for nearly a year.

Keep Casper Smoke Free’s predecessor, the American Cancer Society-affiliated Smokefree Natrona County, lobbied in favor of the initial smoking ban.

Holloway says, if the judge finds in favor of the city, her group will turn its attention toward council seats up for election this November.

“It’s difficult, obviously, with the dysfunction of council right now,” Holloway said. “A lot of people really aren’t interested in becoming a part of that body.”

“Would we get our five votes again to reinstate the original ordinance as it was passed? I’m not sure, but we’re going to try,” Holloway said.

Holloway also says Keep Casper Smoke Free may lobby for changes to state law regarding smoking in public places.

The group claims it gathered nearly 3,000 signatures last summer, but fell 61 signatures short of a referendum. Casper city clerk V.H. McDonald rejected roughly 700 signatures during an official tally.

Keep Casper Smoke Free maintains McDonald and his staff rejected over 90 signatures illegally.

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