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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

LOS ANGELES : Appeals Court Rejects Challenge to Smoking Ban

August 26, 1994

The state Court of Appeal has rejected a tobacco-industry-sponsored challenge to the city of Los Angeles' ban on smoking in restaurants.

The court's 2nd Appellate District ruled Thursday that Section 339 of the City Election Code--which invalidates petition signatures gathered by people who are not residents and registered voters within the city--does not violate constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech.

The city clerk's office ruled previously that, based on a 5% sample of signatures, pro-smoking forces had not gathered enough names to put a referendum invalidating the ban on the ballot.

The referendum's backers argued that they had been unconstitutionally restricted to using petition circulators who were registered voters in the city. A Superior Court judge agreed, but the appellate court reversed his decision.

The ban remained in effect throughout the litigation.

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