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St. Charles Smoking Ban: Officials Consider New Policy As Critics Argue For Property Rights

ash-tray.jpg
via
Is a government ban on smoking an infringement on property rights?

That's a central question that has emerged in the city of St. Charles, which had its final of three public hearings on the so-called "Smoke-Free Air Act" last night. As we reported earlier this month, the city is in the early stage of considering some sort of smoking-ban ordinance -- and in the process is exploring what kinds of businesses might be exempt.

The debates around smoking bans have heated up in recent months at the state level in Missouri and locally in the St. Louis metro area. What could the city of St. Charles' policy look like?

See also:
- Smoking Ban for St. Clair County Public Housing Likely Start of a Trend
- Statewide Smoking Ban in Missouri? Dem Senator Proposes Broad Restrictions
- Smoking Ban in St. Louis County: What Kinds of Businesses Should Be Exempt?

For now, city officials are soliciting feedback from residents and businesses -- and do eventually hope to put forth their own policy before the county or state mandates one.

"We are collecting information from all parties," Carol Felzien, director of communications for the city, tells Daily RFT Of the first public hearing, he says, "It was split right down the aisle."

Promotional video for the smoking ban hearings in St. Charles.

She says, "It's really just about our due diligence on our end."

Republican groups and elected officials are increasing pressure on the city to reject any sort of ban, which they argue is an infringement on property rights and is a government overreach.

The St. Charles County Republican Central Committee recently put out a statement opposing the ban on the grounds that it infringes on people's freedoms:

The St. Charles County Republican Central Committee opposes legislation that creates disparate treatment of competing private businesses throughout St. Charles County by prohibiting smoking.

The St. Charles County Republican Central Committee believes that government should allow businesses to choose whether to accommodate smoking customers or not, and allow customers to choose whether or not to patronize smoking or non-smoking establishments. To do otherwise infringes upon the peoples' freedom.

Therefore, the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee, while not condoning or promoting smoking, urges elected officials throughout St. Charles County to vote against measures to prohibit smoking in privately owned businesses.

A big part of the St. Charles debate centers on Ameristar Casino, which could get an exemption to continue allow smoking. Some argue, however, that picking and choosing businesses that can avoid the ban is not a fair public policy.

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via Facebook
Ameristar Casino in St. Charles.

"The mayor and the council are looking at what exemptions might be in the mix," Felzien says, "not just the casino."

The city is considering everything from bars to private clubs to bowling alleys and more.

"Everything is on the table at this point," she says.

State Representative Kathie Conway -- who has gone so far as to propose a penalty for cities with smoking bans -- came out last night with a strong statement against any ban. She said, "As elected officials, it is your responsibility to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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16 comments
Adam Usher
Adam Usher

Yes Al he does but I hate smelling like an ash tray and having to take a shower when I get home from the bar because of others.

Al Guapo
Al Guapo

Adam you can't deprive your 10 month old of smoke-friendly bars. I know how he likes to smoke when he drinks.

Joel Groeblinghoff
Joel Groeblinghoff

No. Smokers should go outside. I say, ban all smoking. We shouldnt have to pay the price because of your stupid habit. (Says the guy who smoked 2+ packs a day for 12 years, and finally pulled his head out of his own ass)

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

No Heather, go out side to smoke.

Heather Girone
Heather Girone

If you don't like smoking, don't go to places that have it. There are plenty of places to go that don't have it.

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

Yes ban smoking in St.Charles!!! I'm tired of bringing my 10 month old into places that smell like smoke. I usually only go to those places once because of it. The Waffle House on Main Street in an example, that place STINKS! Literally. Sad that people can't stop smoking for a hour to eat. Real sad.

Michael Schmidt
Michael Schmidt

I used to think smoking bans were bad, but then St. Louis banned smoking and I got used to smoke free bars. Now I won't go places that allow smoking because it's kinda nice to not smell disgusting when leaving a bar.

Dave Muser
Dave Muser

It's gonna take alot more than a smoking ban to fix St. Charles.

Kenny Snarzyk
Kenny Snarzyk

Slow down, guys! I'm gonna grab a snack and a drink.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Communists don't respect or even recognize 'property rights'... Good luck getting anything changed. And, before somebody says I'm wrong... Well, were they recognizing property rights when they created this non-objective immoral law? Exactly, shut up!

Adam Stahlman
Adam Stahlman

Yes...they should have the right to smoke...especially if people want to get into "pro choice" debates since it is their body...fuck smoking bans... Governments are putting too many restrictions on stupid shit

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