LITTLE FALLS (AP) -- Voters here could make this central Minnesota city the first to repeal a ban on smoking in restaurants just weeks after it became only the third in the state to enact one.
Little Falls passed the ordinance -- following the lead of northern cities Moose Lake and Duluth -- last month. It's supposed to go into effect Wednesday.
But opponents of the ban were expected to ask the City Council on Monday to either repeal the ban or put the question to city residents in a referendum. They say they have already collected the nearly 1,000 signatures -- or 5 percent of the city's registered voters -- to force the issue.
If the signatures are determined to be valid, the council must decide the following week to repeal the measure or have a referendum. A vote would likely be held in late January, city attorney Peter Vogel said.
"A lot of people feel the City Council shoved this through thinking a lot of people wouldn't have the time or the desire to fight it," said Bill Wieczorek, a smoker who has worked on the petition drive.
"But I think it should be left up to the owners," Wieczorek said. "The decision people should make is whether they want to go to one of those places that allow smoking. It's a matter of personal choice to walk through that door or not."
About half of the 16 restaurants in the city already prohibit smoking, either by choice or because of corporate policy.
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