A St. Charles County councilman is drafting a new smoking ban ordinance, but he doesn’t expect to introduce the legislation for another month.
“One of the things causing me consternation is how to try to figure out how to get this ordinance done without causing job loss in St. Charles County,” said Joe Cronin, R-District 1, of St. Paul.
“If the casino exemption doesn’t get put in, and folks are allowed to gamble across the river in St. Louis County and smoke but not in our county, the estimated job loss is 320 jobs in downtown St. Charles,” he said.
The St. Louis County smoking ban exempts casinos.
The St. Charles County Council narrowly approved Cronin’s first attempt at a smoking ban bill by a 4-2 vote. That bill exempted smoking on the casino gambling floor as well as in cigar bars, 20 percent of all hotel rooms, and private clubs that do not have employees.
However, County Executive Steve Ehlmann vetoed the bill in June. The county executive said he believed that allowing exemptions for some businesses and not others meant that government was picking “winners and losers” by favoring some businesses over others.
Ehlmann also said that since the smoking ban was presented as a health-related law, it should be applied equally to protect everyone’s health. He said that he supports the government’s right to ban smoking to protect public health.
Cronin said that Ehlmann also took issue with exempting 20 percent of the hotel rooms. However, as with the casino, smokers can go across the river to stay in St. Louis County hotels exempted from the ban, he said.
“Then we hear from the hotel industry as well,” Cronin said.