Yes, the issue will still go to the voters on June 5 no matter what. No there aren’t any amendments to the smoking ban… yet.
On Monday the Springfield City Council finalized two proposals that they had been working on for months, according to a story on KY3, to appease some of the nay-sayers of Springfield’s ban on smoking in indoor public areas. These two proposals are as follows:
1st Bill: Creates exemptions for electronic cigarettes from the ban and allows smoking as part of theatrical performances. It also has exemptions for tobacco shops, private clubs, and bingo halls that are “grandfathered” in since they were established businesses before the 2011 ban.
2nd Bill: Provides the same exemptions, but also exempts bars.
The City Council will vote on these proposals on Monday, May 7 and each bill has to have a unanimous proposal to be passed. If they do, they will go into effect immediately.
I talked with Christian Hutson, the owner of a cigar shop near the Battlefield Mall called Just For Him, and he said the passing of either of these proposals would give him immediate relief. He said since the ban, he’s had a 20% loss of sales because when people come to his store they like to stick around and light up what they just bought. However, he also feels for the bars and hopes the second bill gets passed, but he doesn’t believe that will happen.
I think the proposals are a good compromise to a very polarizing issue. A lot of businesses have run out because of the ban, but I’ve also been told a lot of businesses have been opened and/or thriving. I’ve also been told employees have been getting sick less in some businesses. Yes the ban has always been unfair for both Just for Him and the hookah bar Albatross, but these proposals would fix that. So hopefully this would appease both sides of the issue and we won’t have to have a third election next year.
If either of these amendments are approved unanimously then they will go into effect immediately. Then Springfield will vote on June 5 to either keep the ban with the amendments or get rid of it entirely.
If you have any questions or would just like to bother the City Council you can go to the city website and select “Email City Council” on the right-middle portion of the page.