Tuesday, October 26, 2010

one Missouri community I strangely missed for months(!) that's having a November smoking ban referendum, plus Joplin update

I somehow missed for too many months(until almost the very last minute, boo myself) that an anti-smoking coalition in Fulton, Missouri(called Fresh Air Fulton) has collected enough signatures to place a smoking ban on the November 2nd, 2010 ballot. This now makes 2 Missouri communities(the first one was Jefferson City) that have smoking bans that were placed on the citywide ballot for November.

And since we're fast approaching the 1 year anniversary of when Saint Louis County voters approved a limited smoking ban that exempted casinos, and bars/nightclubs with 75% or greater alcohol sales(and this is one that I still believe is very unfair and was hastily written by renown anti-smoker Barbara Fraser(and as of now is running for a seat in the Missouri State Senate, which I hope she loses greatly), since it strips the property rights away from restaurants and bowling alleys that wish to remain smoker-friendly establishments). This is of course the same ban that 'triggered' the Saint Louis city smoking ban(which is stricter than the county ban, and only has a 5 year exemption for bars/clubs under 2000 sq. ft., and any bar that opens after January 2011 has to be smoke-free, and cannot qualify for the exemption) to go into effect as of January 2011.

That sad anniversary aside, I hope residents in both Fulton and Jefferson City see through the lies of anti-smoking groups, and reject these proposals that've been referred to the ballot(and are 100% smoking bans that include all restaurants and bars, unlike the 2009 Saint Louis County ban referendum). There still is no doubt in my mind that if county board member Barbara Fraser(and chief author of what became the current county smoking ban) could've gotten enough votes on the county board to get a ban including ALL restaurants and bars on the 2009 ballot(rather than one with a 75% or greater alcohol sales exemption for bars/nightclubs), she would've gotten that onto the 2009 ballot instead. Ranting over, here's the article on Fulton, Missouri:

And as for Joplin, Missouri, their city council rejected approving a citywide smoking ban on a 5-4 vote October 18, but on their October 25th meeting, approved putting a smoking ban referendum(which was barely watered down from the language Smoke-Free Joplin wanted, since the only way their proposal was changed by Joplin's City Council was that private clubs are now exempt, as are restaurant/bar outdoor patios, and the smoke-free radius from doors/windows was reduced from 20 feet to 5 feet) onto the ballot in April 2011. This proposal definitely goes too far, and should've been less restrictive.

I really hope Joplin voters reject this proposal next year, and send Joplin's City Council a message that they need a ban like what the city of Wichita had, before Kansas' statewide smoking ban took effect this past summer(which exempted any restaurant or bar that chose to be an 18 and up adult establishment, or had walled off smoking rooms with their own ventilation system, and didn't require non-smokers to walk through such areas to access things like bathrooms. it also required any establishment that chose to be a smoking establishment to disclose to potential employees that they were a smoking establishment, and that they would be exposed to SHS. that's extremely fair as hell to me, and a proposal that I'd gladly 100% support).


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