State-wide Smoking Ban

By  | 

You need a key and pay a membership fee to get inside the Verdi Club. But even this private organization isn't safe from the government's ban on smoking.

"I don't think the government should say what our private clubs do," says Verdi Club member Carlo Matranga.

"People pay to have a private club and they should be the ones to say yes we will or won't smoke," says Verdi Club President Don Crosty.

Both the Illinois House and Senate want to extinguish all smoking in private clubs like Verdi along with bars, restaurants and public workplaces.

"People that want to smoke have drink have something to eat they'll drive across the border," Matranga says.

A rather easy commute from Rockton. Beloit is just a few minutes away and Fibs Restaurant owner Mitzi Deal says shes already getting worried.

"I think they'll go to Wisconsin if they want to smoke in a bar or restaurant they ll go to Wisconsin and that will hurt us," she says.

While border towns run the risk to losing business to surrounding states, those located further into Illinois wont have that worry.

Once the Governor signs the ban, it would take effect January first. This smoking prohibition would override any other county or city ordinance and towns can not overrule the new state law.

Right now, Wisconsin is also exploring joining Illinois in a statewide smoking ban. Governor Doyle wants a law to outlaw lighting up in all workplaces, restaurants and taverns. The Tavern League, which represents 12-thousand bars in the state, is fighting the possible ban. With Illinois 19 states will have outlawed public smoking.