Ruling: Parts of Neb. smoking ban unconstitutional

An appeal is expected soon on a judge's ruling that exceptions listed in Nebraska's statewide smoking ban are unconstitutional.

In this week's ruling by Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson, she agrees with the exception for research facilities.

But she says cigar bars, hotels and tobacco shops aren't different enough from other workplaces to warrant special treatment. The law took effect June 1, 2009.

Her ruling was on a motion for summary judgment filed for Big John's Billiards, an Omaha pool hall. Big John's has sued the state over the state's smoking ban.

State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, of Omaha, introduced the original legislation. He says he's confident the judge's ruling will be appealed as early as Thursday.