Owensboro commissioners drop pre-existing bars from draft of smoking-ban ordinance

The Owensboro City Commission compromised to gain the support of all five members to vote for a smoking ban, which will come up for a vote on Sept. 2, Steve Vied reports for the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.

The original draft of the ordinance eliminated smoking in all public places in the city, and was favored narrowly. The compromise allows smoking to continue in establishments that are already in operation and don’t allow entry to anyone under 18, thus exempting bars, as a county ordinance does.

“New bars that open after the ordinance goes into effect, whether they allow customers under 18 or not, will not be permitted to have smoking,” Mayor Ron Payne said.

“Thank you so much,” said Ashley Oberst, an employee of Rocky’s Bar and Grill at Ninth and Crittenden streets. “It means more than you know.”

“I’m not here to make choices for adults,” Commissioner Jeff Sanford said, but if smoking “is around kids, I can’t support it.”

Payne told the audience at a meeting, “First and foremost, this commission wants to act in unison. We did not want a split vote. No. 2, we have listened to you. You made some good points that we have considered. We all have wrestled with this. This is a toughie. I have three younger brothers, all gone, two from lung cancer.”

The new version also deleted regulation of electronic cigarettes. (Read morethis article is behind a paywall)

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