Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Anti-Smoking Ban Ordinance Is Not Dead

Tonight councilman Marty Bender introduced his ordinance to reverse part of the smoking ban that was enacted last year by city council. Bender's ordinance would allow smoking at bars and restaurants with bars (among other places) provided the bar area was totally enclosed and on a separate HVAC system. There was quite a nice show of support for Bender's ordinance given the inclement weather this evening; I would estimate there were roughly 70-80 people there to support his proposed changes.

Unfortunately Bender didn't fully understand the requirements to move an ordinance from introduction to committee. Bender was under the assumption that a simple majority of votes was all that was needed, but it actually takes 5 votes to move to committee for discussion. Since councilmen Hines and Shoaff were absent, Bender's ordinance needed 5 of the 7 present councilmembers to support his ordinance - he only received 4. The members voting for sending it to committee were Bender, Harper, Didier and Goldner with Smith, Pape and Brown voting against.

Right after Didier declared that the ordinance would not be sent to committee all of Bender's supporters got up and left and many were visibly upset. I don't think they understood that the ordinance is not completely dead and that Bender can re-introduce it 2 weeks from now when Hines and Shoaff would presumably be present. Furthermore they missed their opportunity at the end of the meeting to speak before council and tell them what they thought.

I think it's also important to remember that Hines was the member that introduced an amendment to the original ordinance that would've exempted bars in the first place. I've been told (not by him) that he's now against revisiting the issue but I don't know that to be fact.

So as much as it pains me to say it all is not lost for the anti-smoking ban crowd. After the meeting concluded, council attorney Joe Bonahoom was kind enough to explain what happened - including the fact that Bender could re-introduce the ordinance:

1 comment:

Phil Marx said...

I'm not sure, but that police officer in the photo looks like it could be Chief York.

Since it appears he is leaving with the angry smokers, that must mean one of two things. Either this cop (whoever he is) is against the smoking ban, or he just wanted to see if he could catch some of them smoking outside and issue citations for smoking too close to the doorway.