St. Charles City Backs Off Smoking Ban Proposal, Considers Mandatory Signage

The city of St. Charles will not be banning smoking after all -- though officials are not dropping the issue altogether.

In May, St. Charles began considering a new smoking ban policy and launched a series of public hearings on the topic. The city was looking at prohibiting smoking inside businesses through a policy that might exempt certain establishments, such as casinos. Critics, who have spoken out against proposed bans throughout the metro area and in Missouri, argued that forcing businesses to have certain policies would violate their private property rights.

Now, officials have backed off from plans to institute any sort of smoking ban, but they are considering a new signage policy.

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

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?

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New Smoking Bans? City of St. Charles Now Considering "Smoke-Free Air Act"

Categories: News, Smoking Bans

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Is the city of St. Charles next?

In recent months, there has been a surge in proposals related to smoking bans at every level of government in Missouri from municipal ordinances to statewide efforts -- and now officials in St. Charles are soliciting feedback for a preliminary effort labeled the "Smoke-Free Air Act."

"This is a proactive opportunity for the city of St. Charles to explore this kind of legislation on our own as a city," Carol Felzien, director of communications for the city, tells Daily RFT. Starting next week, the city will be hosting a series of public hearings on potential local legislation -- and Felzien emphasizes that this is the first step in a long process.

Advocates that oppose sweeping bans, however, are already trying to organize businesses to come out and protest against any policy that they say could unfairly -- and selectively -- hurt some smoke-friendly restaurants and bars.

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Missouri Rep. Kathie Conway Proposes Penalty for Cities With Smoking Bans

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Opponents of smoking bans in Missouri argue that the government should not regulate the policies of private businesses. And now, Missouri State Rep. Kathie Conway has her own government proposal that she says would send that message very clearly: Punish cities that enact overreaching no-smoking ordinances. How?

Take away the tax revenue the city gets from establishments hurt by the smoking bans.

"The goal is to protect private property rights," Conway, a Republican from St. Charles, tells Daily RFT. "I just really wanted to get the conversation going."

On the latter, she's definitely had some success.

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No Smoking: New Ban for St. Clair County Public Housing Units, Likely Start of a Trend

Categories: Smoking Bans

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In St. Louis County, elected officials and business owners have been fighting over a proposal to ban smoking inside most establishments -- even ones that were previously exempt.

But across the river in Illinois, St. Clair County is successfully pushing forward with a different kind of smoking policy and one that officials say will likely be the start of a trend: a ban on smoking inside public housing complexes.

"This is all about health and wellness," Jan Douglass, community health program coordinator for the county, tells Daily RFT. "St. Clair County is trying to become one of the healthiest counties...and we are looking at the health and safety of all residents."

Where will the new ban apply?

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Statewide Smoking Ban in Missouri? Maria Chappelle-Nadal Proposes Broad Restrictions

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While St. Louis County officials consider putting in place a stricter smoking ban policy, a bill at the state legislature to ban smoking across the entire state has gotten little attention this legislative session.

That's partly because opposition is so strong, it's not likely to get far in the process. But that's not stopping State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a University City Democrat.

"It's a statewide ban -- everything," Chappelle-Nadal tells Daily RFT. "A lot of people are offended by secondhand smoke."

If passed, where would the ban apply?

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Smoking Ban in St. Louis County: What Kinds of Businesses Should Be Exempt?

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A controversial smoking ban proposal at the St. Louis County Council has prompted businesses to protest stricter policies that they say could hurt their revenues. As we've reported, the policy under consideration, would limit exemptions to the ban so that a majority of establishments could no longer allow smoking.

After a contentious hearing last week, Daily RFT has been in contact with some of the advocates on the ground about all the possible scenarios officials are studying, and we've compiled a list below -- everything from square footage limits to age requirements and more.

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Smoking Ban: St. Louis County Small Businesses Fight For Exemptions, Fear Major Revenue Loss

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More businesses in the county may have to ban smoking.
Today at the St. Louis County Council, members of the public will have an opportunity to offer feedback on a controversial proposal to expand a smoking ban to a variety of business establishments that are exempt under current policy.

Carol Fallert, owner of The Brew House in Maryland Heights, will testify -- and she says she is trying to get as many people as possible to speak out against a bill that could badly damage her bar.

"I'm spearheading this for the little guys, the neighborhood bars," Fallert tells Daily RFT. "This could drastically reduce my revenues."

Who would be impacted by the policy change?

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Smoking Ban: St. Louis County Council Considers Fewer Exemptions, Stricter Policy

Categories: News, Smoking Bans

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Under current St. Louis County policy, cigar bars, casino gaming areas and some drinking establishments are exempt from the ban on smoking. But that could all change if a recently introduced bill from St. Louis County Councilman Michael O'Mara passes. The proposal, full version on view below, would eliminate some existing exemptions and create an overall stricter policy.

As the Council debates the idea, activist Bill Hannegan is making an effort this week to alert every single establishment that would potentially be impacted by the changes to speak up about how bans on smoking could affect business.

"It's a very disorganized community," says Hannegan, who was featured in a 2009 RFT story. "I just want to let them know what's going on."

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Sorry, Clayton Smokers. You Still Can't Smoke in the Park, Appeals Court Rules

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Arthur Gallagher (not pictured) wants to do more of this in Clayton.
The federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Clayton resident Arthur Gallagher last Thursday in his quest to overturn that city's ban on smoking in public parks.

A retired vineyard owner, Gallagher enjoys lighting up stogies in Concordia Park across from Kaldi's Coffee on Demun Avenue -- "ecstatically" so, he even claimed in court.

But the Clayton smoking ban prohibited smoking in public parks. It did exempt sidewalks (and streets and alleys), but not park sidewalks.

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