After a six months of public debate, private wrangling and at least one serious local editorial page flaying, the Hopkinsville City Council narrowly passed a citywide smoking ban Tuesday night. The original ordinance that came before the council at its meeting was more of a smoking regulation than a ban because it required businesses to decide whether they would allow smoking at their establishments, and post that publicly. But once the ordinance came up for discussion, reports Carla Jimenez of the Kentucky New Era, council members opted for an all-or-nothing vote. “If we’re really, truly concerned about the health of people, then it should be everybody,” said Ward 8 Councilwoman Marby Schlegel. The exemptions to a full smoking ban vote were then removed. That vote resulted in a 6-6 tie, which was broken by Mayor Dan Kemp.
“It’s progress,” Kemp told Jimenez after the meeting. He said Hopkinsville now has a smoke-free ordinance similar to Owensboro, Bowling Green, Madisonville, Henderson, Oak Grove and Paducah. Ward 4 Councilman Ward Henson disagreed.
"I think we took away rights from private business owners, which
is something I totally disagree with, but I’m just glad to see the
smoking thing out of the way.”
The ordinance still has to pass on second reading before it becomes law. (Read more)
The excoriating editorial (see above) can be read here.