MADISON, WI -- Wisconsin's smoking ban will be extended to bars and restaurants on Monday, July 5, as part of an antismoking measure adopted by the state Legislature in 2009. But officials admitted that enforcement responsibility remains unclear.
Municipal courts in each jurisdiction will have authority to prosecute violators. Local police, however, may not be authorized to issue citations for those courts until individual city councils incorporate the smoking ban into local laws and regulations. In Milwaukee, city health officers are seeking clarification for other city officials to give tickets to smokers or locations that permit smoking. In some cities, police and city councils have stated that smoking ban enforcement will receive low priority.
Since the law prohibits smoking only within an "enclosed space," some tavern owners have also interpreted the law to mean that smoking could be permissible in their establishments as long as there are sufficient windows and ventilation.