As the Springfield City Council begins hearings tonight on whether to ban smoking in nearly all indoor workplaces in the city, a clear majority of the aldermen, including all five Republicans, are leaning toward a total ban.
The proposal by Ward 10 Ald. Bruce Strom calls for smoking to be banned in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants, taverns and bowling alleys. Smoking would be permitted in hotel rooms, private homes and nursing home rooms where all residents agree to permit it. Strom has yet to introduce the ordinance.
Other than Edwards and Strom, Ward 5 Ald. Joe Bartolomucci, Ward 7 Ald. Judy Yeager, Ward 8 Ald. Irv Smith, all Republicans, and Ward 6 Ald. Mark Mahoney, a Democrat, said they lean toward supporting a total ban.
Of the other Democrats, Ward 4 Ald. Chuck Redpath said he wants to ban smoking in restaurants but not taverns, which he believes could be forced out of business by a ban; Ward 2 Ald. Frank McNeil is leaning against a ban but plans to listen to what happens at the public hearings; Ward 9 Ald. Tom Selinger said he hasn't made up his mind either way; and Ward 3 Ald. Frank Kunz opposes a smoking ban of any kind.
I’m not sure why this article obsesses about political party affiliation in this matter. Is it because Republicans are supposed to want to limit government regulation?
Anyway, I’m thrilled the ban will include the bars. I was willing to make an exception in the name of compromise but screw it, let’s go for the gold. I wish the ban was retroactive so I could nullify all the secondhand smoke I inhaled over the years, particularly in bars (I know, I know, it was my choice to go in to the smoky establishments at the time). I rarely see the inside of drinking establishments anymore (outside of restaurants) but it’s a great development nonetheless.
And if you think your elected representatives don’t listen, check this out:
[Alderman] Yeager said a "vast majority" of the calls she has received were in favor of the ban.Gosh, I’m so proud of our city leaders, even Mayor Davlin for softening his position (even if it was in the name of political expediency).
"It took some time, but I've seen the light," she said.
There is a public hearing on the smoking ban proposal tonight at 6:30 at the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 1800 Martin Luther King Drive.