Friday, August 27, 2010

Bismarck's done deal of a smoking ban, behind the scenes of business owners

Every post, article, and comment I've been reading about Bismarck(ND) City Commission's "hearing" on their now-passed smoking ban just go to show it was a farce all along, and that a local smoke-free coalition obviously contacted the mayor and each commissioner to pressure them into supporting this unnecessary ordinance banning it in all bars and truck stops. On Tuesday this week, Bismarck's City Commission voted 4-1 in favor of an ordinance to ban smoking in all businesses. I'm laughing my butt off now obviously seeing they agreed to wait till November 1st at 1am to enforce it, probably to give bar patrons one last night they can smoke in a bar(Halloween)?

NEVER MIND that I heard Bismarck already had a local limited smoking ban in place banning smoking in restaurants, but exempting bars, truck stops, and I believe certain other adult businesses. A partial statewide smoking ban passed 5 years ago in that state, exempting bars, truck stops, and other age-restricted places(like truck stops, and if a restaurant has a physically separate bar area from the rest of the restaurant). It's obvious to me why the North Dakota Tobacco Free Coalition(IIRC, need to do a google check to be sure of the name of the group that is pursuing all these bar smoking bans suddenly in this state) is pressuring city councils throughout North Dakota all of a sudden to pass local smoking bans affecting bars, before the 2011 legislative session starts in North Dakota(where there obviously will be a hard push for a statewide bar smoking ban). If antis(theoretically speaking) were to get their statewide bar smoking ban in North Dakota passed in 2011, wonder how long it'll be before they try to bug cities there(namely Fargo, as they were the first city in that state to have a bar smoking ban) to ban smoking on outdoor patios?

I really hope the bar and truck stop owners in Bismarck consider collecting signatures to get this on the ballot, and have the backbone to ensure this gets on the ballot there, unlike Grand Forks(where there was a failed attempt to refer this issue to the ballot, before it took effect for Grand Forks bars just 11/2 weeks ago). If not, they should try in 2011 or 2012 to collect enough signatures to get this on the ballot. Devils Lake, ND's city commission had the right idea to refer this to the November 2010 ballot and let voters decide, since at least it gives residents a chance to stop such an unnecessary and silly law. And as evidenced in 2008, when both Kenosha, WI, and Amarillo, TX both voted down total smoking bans that were put on the ballot.

2 articles:; (this has the whole story and the video from a local TV newscast); (published and broadcast just barely before the night of the hearing, in fact this was aired probably in the afternoon on the same TV station as the above article, before the hearing started in the evening)

And I dunno how I didn't catch this great article 6 months back, it's sad I only caught this article now(yay for google caching news articles that are now gone from the 'net). Never mind IIRC, someone on the Smokers Club forum may've posted this article here back in February, but I unfortunately missed it:

From earlier, the article on the city commission in Devils Lake referring this issue to the November 2010 ballot, when antis bugged them to pass a bar ban:

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