Restaurant owners and tobacco company executives who want to overturn Los Angeles’ ban on smoking in restaurants lost a round Monday when state appellate judges allowed the city clerk’s office to discontinue its count of referendum petitions that seek to invalidate the ban.
The court’s 2nd Appellate District still must make a final ruling on whether the city’s review of the petitions was adequate.
The clerk’s office had previously said that based on a 5% sample of signatures, the pro-smoking forces had not gathered enough names to put the question on the ballot. But the petition forces argued that they had been unfairly restricted to using petition circulators who are registered voters in the city. A Superior Court judge late last month agreed, ordering the petition review to begin anew and forcing the showdown at the appellate court.
Meanwhile, the ban on smoking in nearly 7,000 indoor eateries in Los Angeles remains in effect.