Public input needed on countywide smoking ordinance
You've heard about it on the news. You've read about it in all the newspapers. Now it's coming to a town near you. A proposal for establishing an ordinance that would ban smoking in public places and places of work in Carlton County has been form...
You've heard about it on the news. You've read about it in all the newspapers. Now it's coming to a town near you.
A proposal for establishing an ordinance that would ban smoking in public places and places of work in Carlton County has been formally introduced to the Carlton County Board. Now, commissioners want to know just what the public has to say about it.
A public hearing on the proposed ordinance is slated for Monday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Carlton County Transportation Building on Old Highway 61 south of Highway 210 in Carlton.
Though the proposal for a smoking ordinance has been bantered around by county commissioners for a number of years, it finally took hold in December, when former commissioner Frank Liupakka formally proposed it to the board, saying public sentiment is "overwhelmingly in favor of protecting employees and the public against the dangers of secondhand smoke."
Fellow board members voted unanimously to set a public hearing on the proposed ordinance, as drawn up by County Attorney Thom Pertler based on similar ordinances enacted by other Minnesota counties.
The ordinance, if passed, acknowledges the proven health hazards of secondhand smoke and the risks due to exposure to it to both children and adults. It further states that by eliminating it in indoor spaces "fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke" and acknowledges that "separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke."
The proposed ordinance would be enforced through all of Carlton County (with the exception of the Fond du Lac Reservation) and apply to bars, places of work where two or more people are employed, and restaurants (including outdoor dining or bar areas, where up to only 50 percent of the seating capacity can be designated for smoking, and then only when appropriately signed as a smoking area), where smoking would be prohibited within 25 feet of entrances, exits, open windows and ventilation intakes.
The proposed penalty for violation of any provision of the ordinance includes being charged with a petty misdemeanor and subjected to a fine of up to $300. A previously convicted person who violates any provision of the ordinance would be subject to up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
The ordinance, if approved in its current form, would take effect June 1, 2007.
Pine Journal Publisher/ reporter Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org .