Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ketchum passes smoke-free law

Violators of new ordinance could pay up to $52


By BRENNAN REGO
Express Staff Writer

    Ketchum has passed a law drafted to protect employees, residents and visitors from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and e-cigarette “vapor” in the city.
    The council on Monday voted 3-0 to adopt an ordinance that would prohibit smoking in a long list of public areas throughout the city. Councilwoman Nina Jonas was not present at the City Council meeting.
    “We’re reflecting the common sense our constituency has,” said Councilman Jim Slanetz. “We’re codifying it.”
    Councilman Michael David said, “It tightens [the city code] up for enforcement purposes.”
    People who violate the proposed ordinance—by refusing to “extinguish all lighted smoking products” or “leave the premises”—would be issued a written warning for the first violation. A second violation within two years could result in a $25 fine and a third violation within that time could result in a $52 fine. Employers who discriminate against employees who lodge complaints related to the ordinance would be subject to a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000. The ordinance states that the city will undertake a one-year campaign to educate the public on the new law before enforcing it.
    According to the ordinance, smoking would be prohibited in all city-owned facilities, including parks, and in all enclosed, indoor public places and places of employment, including hotel and motel rooms. The ordinance would prohibit outdoor smoking within 20 feet of bus stops, on all school property and within designated “special event zones,” unless that event has a city-approved, designated smoking area.
    Smoking would not be regulated in private residences, unless used as a business; in privately owned outdoor spaces such as bars and sidewalk cafés; on city rights of way, including sidewalks; at exclusive retail tobacconist shops; and at Native American ceremonies.
    Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall said the ordinance follows a “progressive action” by the City Council to “change the culture here” that started with the adoption of a “dark sky ordinance” in 1999, then an anti-idling ordinance in 2009, a green building ordinance in 2012 and an anti-discrimination ordinance earlier this year.
    “We are going to stop short of stopping our 7-Elevens from selling [16-ounce] soft drinks,” he said, in reference to such a law passed by the New York City Board of Health last September.
    Earlier this month, a New York Supreme Court judge reversed the controversial soda law.


Brennan Rego: brego@mtexpress.com




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