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Anti-Smoking Ban Bill Would Put Penalties on Cities, Counties With Smoking Bans

A proposed bill that would hand out penalties to cities or counties that enforce smoking bans would take money away from those towns and pump it into the local public school district.

More smoking ban news is making headlines—this time on a statewide level. 

State Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, is pushing a bill through the state legislature that would place financial penalties on local counties and cities that enforce smoking bans. 

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Conay is trying to protect the rights of owners of bars, restaurants and other businesses to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking. 

“If these municipalities and counties are going to hurt the income of small businesses, maybe their bottom line should be affected as well,” she told the Post-Dispatch.

Money generated from the bill—Hosue Bill 1021—would be handed over to the local school district.

The bill faces fierce opposition from anti-smoking groups and by Conway's own admittance has a "50-50 at best" chance of getting the green light from state lawmakers.

If the law were passed today, O'Fallon and Lake Saint Louis—the only two cities in St. Charles County to enforce smoking bans—would be the only towns to be fined. 

O'Fallon began its smoking ban in June 2011 while Lake Saint Louis began enforcing its smoking ban in October 2010.

Currently, members of the St. Charles City Council are moving forward with an ordinance to ban smoking in the city. However, that law would likely give exemptions to businesses such as casinos, bars, bowling alleys and more. 

No smoking ban exists on the St. Charles County-wide level, either. In September 2012, a county judge decided to pull a smoking ban measure off the ballot because of a wording snafu. 

Meanwhile, a separate bill sponsored by State Rep. Bill Otto, D-St. Charles, would prohibit casinos from being subject to smoking laws that a casino within 75 miles are not subject to. 

Similar to Conway's smoking ban bill, Otto's "fair play" bill also faces an uphill battle. 

What do you think? Should the state impose a fine to cities or counties that enforce a smoking ban? Or is this a local issue that the state—or federal government—should not get involved with? 

Reverend Scott E. Lee April 26, 2013 at 06:17 AM
I'm a former smoker (I've been clean for a month now, and still going strong!) and I have always supported a business owner's right to determine whether or not to allow smoking. If a restaurant or bar owner determines that more money will flow in by banning smoking, then the business will not allow smoking. It's that simple. If, on the other hand, a business owner that determines that smoking will either not adversely impact -- or will improve -- revenues, smoking will be allowed. Either way, it should be up to the business owner, not the city. The frickin' end!
Kin Free April 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Smoking bans are imposed by a political 'elite' (exploited by an aggressive tobacco CONTROL movement) who think they know better than the proles, but despite anti-smoker propaganda that claims otherwise, the general public invariably DO NOT want them. Of course they should pay compensation for the unnecessary widespread damage and loss they have caused in pursuit of their smoke prohibition goal. Employment law protects workers from unscrupulous, exploitative employers, this is no different, other than the law has yet to catch up to protect this minority group who have suffered through no fault of their own! A similar legal initiative to this one is also being prepared in Europe, in order to legally hold to account those who have torn the economic and cultural heart out of the hospitality trade there. These initiatives take time and no doubt there will be strong resistance from the ‘elite’ where knock-backs most likely will happen before it eventually bears fruit and we see justice prevail. It is the same with other discrimination, the law protects minorities against discrimination based on race, sex, age and religion but while morally repugnant, many minorities, mainly smokers at the moment, can still be treated unjustly - the law needs to catch up to these discriminatory practices too!
Kin Free April 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Rev Scott E Lee; You, and any other long term smoker who is considering bending over for anti-smokers, may be interested in this information that anti-smokers will not tell you about; http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/oct/16/highereducation.research1 "The striking direct statistical correlation between cessation of smoking to the development of lung malignancies, more than 60% plus, is too glaring to be dismissed as coincidental." Anecdotal; I had a relative who believed anti-smoker rhetoric and quit smoking for the good of his health - he died a year later from pulmonary problems. He is not the only person I knew who died in similar circumstances. You may not have thought in these terms in the past as invariably smoking is always blamed - “He quit, but the cigs got him in the end” (even after many many years) but can you think of any of your family or friends who died within a few years of quitting? Did the cigs. ‘get them’ or were cigs. preventing the onset of the disease? Bear in mind that in the US, despite the massive reduction in smokers, new cancer cases continue to increase and 80% of new lung cancers are now diagnosed in NON-smokers!
Ric G April 30, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Your an ASS businesses and people should be able to choose for themselves not be told by jackass polliticiancs and tools like you what to do.
The Missourian May 01, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Go be part of the past. I roll forward.

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