LAS VEGAS - A judge on Thursday granted a 15-day restraining order to block a new ban on smoking at some bars and around the slot machines at supermarkets, gas stations and convenience stores in southern Nevada.
Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon said Thursday that there was a reasonable likelihood that a group of business owners could persuade him that the voter-approved ban, to take effect on Friday, was unconstitutional.
"This is not an issue of my telling the voters their vote is wrong. It's an issue of the constitutionality of the law they voted on," Herndon said.
A hearing on the law was set for Dec. 19.
Nevada voters approved the ballot measure last month, coming as a surprise to many in the home of all-night casino gambling, on-the-house booze and legalized prostitution. The smoking ban would not affect gambling areas of casinos.
The business group filed suit Tuesday asking for an injunction and a restraining order to keep police in the southern part of the state from enforcing the law, claiming it was unconstitutional, too vague to comply with, and unfairly discriminated against some businesses.
The law can technically be enforced in northern Nevada, though it was unclear Thursday whether it would go forward.
In the northeastern part of the state, Elko County Sheriff Neil Harris said he wanted more information before he enforces the new law.
If a smoker lights up in a restaurant, "we're not going to do anything with it, we need more direction from the attorney general or the district attorney before we can enforce it," Harris said