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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries
Dennis Steffes, d/b/a Last Call and Coyotes v. City of Lawrence, Docket 96838
June 22, 2007

Summaries and press releases are prepared by Ron Keefover, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Judicial Center, 301 West 10th, Topeka, KS 66612-1507 (785-296-2256), e-mail: keefoverr@kscourts.org.

RE: Appeal No. 96,838: Dennis Steffes, d/b/a Last Call and Coyotes v. City of Lawrence

The Supreme Court today unanimously upheld a district court decision denying Lawrence bar owner Dennis Steffes' challenge to the Lawrence city ordinance regulating smoking in public places. Steffes had argued that the ordinance was invalid and its enforcement should be enjoined.

Justice Lawton Nuss, writing for the court, found that state law had not preempted the City of Lawrence from regulating this activity. On the contrary, the court found "the legislature has invited cities to regulate smoking in public places to the maximum extent possible." The court observed that "the legislature has set a floor, but not a ceiling, for how much a city should regulate smoking."

The court further found that ordinance Sections 9-810 and 9-812 are not unconstitutionally vague. The court stated that the ordinance conveys to a person of common intelligence "sufficient definite warning and fair notice as to the prohibited conduct."

In light of the court's findings, the district court did not err in denying injunctive relief to the plaintiff.