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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."

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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