Here's a stunning development no one could have possibly seen coming—a state (in this case Washington) thinking about dialing back a smoking ban now that restaurants and bars are suffering.
Enter Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. Both are nonsmokers and powerful members of the state Legislature–and both say that the Clean Indoor Air Act, as the ban is officially known, has screwed up business and civic life so badly that they favor changing the law.
"I think there's room to amend the new law," Kohl-Welles says.
It will come too late for Dunn–ditto some local bartenders who've seen their tip income plummet hundreds of dollars a month. Dunn says she's had to close her restaurant during the day and already has lost three employees, who saw their tips go from $90 to $10 a shift. Aaron Marshall, a longtime barkeep at Tini Bigs, a martini and cigar bar on Lower Queen Anne, has had to take a second bartending job–an extra 20 hours of work a week–in order to make ends meet.
Back in March, Jacob Sullum visited a California town with a particularly throttling ban.