The Billings Gazette reports that the Yellowstone City-County Health Department is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit from tavern owners over controversial new smoking restrictions.

The Yellowstone County Tavern Association sued the health board on Feb. 16th, claiming they forced through a 20-foot ban on smoking or vaping outside of businesses in what the barkeep’s organization colorfully describe as a “soft totalitarian” manner designed to suppress public participation. The lawsuit asked the court to nullify the new rule and find it in violation of the Montana Constitution’s provisions on the public’s right to participate in government.

The county argues the lawsuit should be dismissed based on the statute of limitations, which requires a person to file a complaint within 30 days of the government action. The new rule was approved in December 2017, and challenged in February 2018.

More From KBUL NEWS TALK 970 AM & 103.3 FM