Archive for Friday, December 3, 2004

Commissioners not backing off smoking ban

December 3, 2004


Lawrence's city-wide smoking ban appears to be staying on the books.

The coalition gathering signatures to overturn the ban said Friday it would not pursue a referendum on the issue, opting instead to work with the Lawrence City Commission on a compromise.

But a majority of city commissioners said they have no interest in backing off from the indoor smoking ban, which they approved earlier this year.

"I have no enthusiasm for the compromise position," Mayor Mike Rundle said. "I think it's a compromise in a negative sense. You're compromising the goal of addressing a public health issue. The only real fair way is to make it effective as we have, in all workplace situations."

Rundle and city commissioners David Dunfield, Boog Highberger and David Schauner each said they didn't plan to support a proposed compromise, which would measure nicotine levels in public buildings in the city. Commissioner Sue Hack could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a news conference Friday afternoon, Phil Bradley, spokesman for the Appeal to Reason and Tolerance Coalition, said the group had collected more than 5,000 signatures of people wanting to repeal the ban, which took effect July 1. That's more than 1,200 more than the amount needed to force a public vote.

But he said the group preferred to pursue the compromise route and said pursuing the vote would be counterproductive to finding common ground.

Under one interpretation of city law, Friday was the final day a petition could be filed to force a vote in the March 1 election.

Asked later Friday whether the coalition would have reached a different conclusion it had known commissioners weren't interested in a compromise, Bradley said he wouldn't comment.

For more on this story, see the 6News report at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of Saturday's Journal-World.

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