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No Smoking Indoors? It's Up to St. Charles County Voters

St. Charles County Council approved placing a smoking ban on the Nov. 6 ballot. County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he planned to sign it.

Voters will have the chance to vote on a county-wide smoking ban at all indoor establishments Nov. 6. 

The ballot will ask voters to consider banning smoking in all enclosed indoor places. Then voters would be asked to vote on providing an exemption for private clubs, veterans organizations and establishments that serve and employ people age 21 and up. 

The bill passed on a 4-2 vote, with members Joe Cronin, Nancy Matheny, Terry Hollander and Joe White voting in favor of the bill. Councilman Jerry Daugherty and Joe Brazil voted against the bill. Councilman Paul Wynn was present by phone and unable to vote. 

Matheny has changed her mind on the smoking ban bill in the three times it has come before the council. In the past, she's voted against a proposal to bring the issue before the voters when it did not include any exclusions. She said she supported this one because it provided a level playing field for bar owners. 

County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he would sign bill because this is a charter amendment as opposed to a health ordinance. Ehlmann vetoed a  in June 2011 because he felt if it were a health issue, it should be a ban across the board. 

"If people want a complete ban, they can vote for it and vote no on the second part," he said. "Even if you vote against it, if it passes, we're going to have exceptions, and we're going to except everything. We're not going to give the boat an exception but not the bar owner." 

Cronin initially brought this proposal forward to give voters an opportunity to vote for a smoking ban not backed by .

Councilman Joe Brazil said government should not be involved in this issue. He said it's not right for the council to pick on smokers. "Who are we going to pick on next?" he said. 

Several people spoke out against the proposal at the meeting, including Carol Gold, owner of South 94 Bistro Pub and Grill. She said she fears that a smoking ban would lead to a reduction in business. She said she knows of nine O'Fallon businesses that have had to shut down after the city enacted a smoking ban. 

"As a small business owner, we cannot afford to take that 30 percent loss in sales," she said. "The playing field should be made fair for all throughout Missouri."

Dino McDonnell August 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Thank you St. Charles county for giving us the citizens the right to vote on how we want to manage smoking in public places. This is all we ever asked for was the right to vote. Councilman Joe Brazil is wrong, this bill it is not government intrusion. Government intrusion was the councils disenfranchising us the voters on this issue.
Jes August 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Do you care how many people will lose their jobs if the "blanket" ban goes through????? Ameristar would be forced to lay off 100's of people! Is that ok with you?????
Robert August 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM
The fact is this.... if smoking bans were GOOD for businesses, the business itself would go smoke free. I personally am a non smoker and have walked out of st least on Main St restaurant because the whole place smelled like a wet ashtray. But those businesses succeed or fail by their own decisions... I found plenty of restaurants that don't have indoor smoking and those places can compete on their own merits without the politburo weighing in.
Dino McDonnell August 28, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Jes that is the same false statements that other have used in states that banned smoking and in those states, business went up. I travel all over the US and Missouri is one of the most backward states when it comes to smoking in public places.
Dino McDonnell August 28, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Robert; you are somewhat correct, smoking is Good Business for the medical field and funeral homes treating those who have been diseased or dead from smoking.
Dot O'Hara-Pinkham August 28, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I am a non-smoker also and I understand that this absolutely IS a personal liberty issue and this bill IS government intrusion!! Joe Brazil was correct and received a standing ovation for his comments from smokers and non-smokers alike. If I want a smoke free restaurant - I GO to one. These business's have the right to choose how to run their establishment & we, the individual have the right to choose where or where not to go also. Don't strip ANYONE'S rights...none of us will benefit in the long run from Government's propensity to regulate our right's away...we will never get them back.
Drew August 28, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Robert is correct. Businesses already have the freedom to ban smoking on their property. If, when, and where this is bad for their business, then they already have motivation to enact this ban. No law necessary. Where businesses owners choose not to do what is most profitable, it is an expression of personal freedom, appealing to personal interests besides profit - and in this case, it is a very clear example of government intrusion. The so-called "public places" are not actually public, they are privately owned. Would you be okay with the government telling you what you can or can't do in your own home on your own property?
Jamie O August 28, 2012 at 05:25 PM
St Charles needs to come into the 21st century and join the rest of the country in being smoke free. People will get over it and may actual quit smoking... what a novel idea. Smokers should be embarrassed of their disgusting, life threatening habit and I shouldn't have to inhale their bad decision and then pay for their illnesses when they get sick from smoking. The ban seems like a win, win for everyone!
Dino McDonnell August 28, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Dot, no one is taking your right to smoke away we just want you to chock on it at your own home.
BillHannegan August 29, 2012 at 03:05 AM
If part 1 passes but not part 2, casinos will get Jefferson City to pass an over 21 exemption statewide. Bars in St. Louis City and County hope for that.
Thomas Laprade August 29, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The one thing that works with certainty: diverse groups of people with differing interests standing together with common purpose that unites them. The only “level playing field” for smoking bans is no smoking ban. Tom L
jack August 30, 2012 at 07:29 AM
Why would the St.Charles county council even consider putting anything on the ballot that could have a negative affect on people's jobs? With unemployment so high, this just does not make sense. People will not go to Ameristar, or any of the local bars, when they can just cross the bridge and smoke. This will be catostrophic for Ameristar, which is one of the largest employers, and generates a lot of tax revenue for St.Charles. Here is something to consider, Harrah's was recently purchased by a company called Penn National, for a considerible amount larger than that property was valued. Why would Penn pay that much for that property? Is it possible that a "deal" was already in place to cripple the nearest competition? This whole thing bears the rancid stench of corruption and bribery! Perhaps the finances of those four council members should be looked into. This is the only logical reason why they would sacrifice jobs, and tax revenue for their own county. I think the people of St.charles county have just been sold out!
Susan Fodor August 30, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I think a full smoking ban in St Charles would actually help businesses in our area. I know that personally myself, my husband, and most of our friends would go out more often to bars, restaurants, and the casino in St Charles if it werent for the smoking. Currently we travel to Ofallon to places like Brewskeez, Llewyllens, and Timbercreek to eat and drink because they are no-smoking. We stay there longer and spend more money than we do at the places in St Charles that allow smoking.
Alaskan In Exile August 31, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Dino, Your reply to Dot creates a fallacious straw man instead of addressing her premise. She's stated she's a non-smoker, so your straw man argument is wrong on it's face. You've conceded she has a right to permit others to smoke in in her home (or prohibit them from same) because her home belongs to her, even though the public (e.g., plumbers, repairmen, etc.) might have to enter that home. Well unless you subscribe to the "You didn't build that" phlosophy regarding small businesses, proprieters own their businesses and ought to have the right to decide whether or not they want to allow smoking in the premises that they own, because their business belongs to them, not the government.
Kathy Chesher August 31, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Never, ever give up your freedoms. So many have fought and sacrificed their lives to prevent intrusive governments from taking our liberty. You might be thinking you are just eliminating something that is unpopular, but what's next? Fireplaces, BBQ pits, campfires, and automobiles also emit carcinogens. Should we ban those too? It's a slippery slope. Once you start initiating bans, anything else is fair game. Freedom of choice is what makes this country great. If we give that up, we will never get it back.
Kathy Chesher August 31, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Never, ever give up your freedoms. So many have fought and died to protect us from oppressive government. If you are willing to allow government to dictate what you can and can not do on your own private property, then you are part of the problem. If this ban passes, what comes next? A ban on fireplaces? Barbecue grills? Automobiles? Those are all legal products that emit carcinogenic exhaust. Once you start giving up your freedoms, even something that might be unpopular, it sets a precedent for allowing the government to control our lives, and we will never get that freedom back. Please, vote no on this ban.
William McKay August 31, 2012 at 08:45 PM
This bill is by definition tyrrany by mob rule. No law forces you to enter a private business that allows smoking. Smoking is already prohibited in all public buildings. I'm a non-smoker in opposition to this soft tyrrany "for our health" If it was really a health issue, it would not have any exceptions. This bill benefits the big businesses who lobbied to get loopholes for themselves.
William McKay August 31, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Dino, Care to share those figures? All the data I saw showed an average 30% drop in businesses that were affected.
William McKay August 31, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Good post. Finally someone with some sense. This is an issue that cannot be fairly fixed by legislation, it MUST be resolved through free markets and voluntary action. STOP THE SOFT TYRRANY!
William McKay August 31, 2012 at 08:48 PM
DIno you got a bug in you don't you? Did someone hold you down and blow smoke in your face? Why don't you excercize YOUR rights and avoid smoking establishments? Leave other people alone!
William McKay August 31, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Banning things is small minded and authoritarian. Forward thinking people allow others to make their own decisions, not tell everyone else how to live. It is YOU who needs to join us in the present.
Marvin Stehr September 01, 2012 at 12:15 AM
The smoking ban is disguised as a health issue, rather it is about property rights and personal liberty and personal responsibility. If the intent of the amendment is to protect the health of employees, then it would not contain exemptions. This law exempts casinos. Is the intrinsic life and health of a casino employee less than that of an employee of a restaurant or bar? Employees of smoking establishments made a choice to work in the smoke. Consumers can choose to trade with either smoking or non-smoking establishments. Each new regulation on a business takes control away from the owner. This is a power grab by the government, taking away property rights, personal freedom and personal responsibility. Thomas Jefferson said that a man must be secure in his property in order to maintain his other liberty. The taking of control of a business or any other property is "a takings" [of property] as much as the taking of property by eminent domain. The difference is that the owner still has the deed to the property, while he has fewer rights to it, and unlike under eminent domain, the owner does not receive "just compensation".
Sandy K September 03, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I am all for the smoking ban and think it will help business. Put them on a level playing field. The businesses may be pleasantly surprised when they get more business because the non-smokers can actually start going to the local bars and pubs.

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