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Pulaski County isn't planning to ban smoking in bars and restaurants
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Feb. 6, 2010) — Contrary to a recent media report, Pulaski County government leaders have no plans to make county bars and restaurants smoke-free.

At Wednesday’s county commission meeting, Commissioner Bill Farnham questioned an article in the Feb. 3 edition of the Waynesville Daily Guide.

“In this article which doesn’t have a name of who wrote the story, it says ‘Pulaski County doesn’t currently have any laws regarding smoking in bars and restaurants, although there have been rumblings during the past of a possible effort to make the county smoke-free,’” Farnham said. “We’ve never discussed this down here in the five years I’ve been on this board, unless they’ve talked about it down at the health board meeting. I’m just curious.”

“The main thing I was wondering about is there was no name on the article and I wondered who wrote it,” Farnham said.

Farnham didn’t get answers to his questions at Wednesday’s county commission meeting.

The article he questioned has a Jefferson City dateline and focuses mostly on efforts by two state legislators from Creve Coeur and St. Louis County to promote House Bill 1766, which, according to the article, would create “uniform smoke-free standards in bars and restaurants.”

According to the article, the variety of local ordinances “has resulted in uneven enforcement and uncertainty as to where smoking is allowed and where it isn’t from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.”

That diversity in local rules is fine, according to Rep. David Day, R-Dixon, who said he was surprised by the newspaper article and its statements about a possible effort to make Pulaski County smoke-free.

Day, who said he’s a former smoker but hasn’t smoked for about two decades, said he’d be surprised if the statewide ban on public smoking gets serious consideration by the legislature, but he’ll vote against the bill if it comes to the House of Representatives floor in its current form.

“If somebody owns a bar or restaurant or sports arena or whatever, I feel if somebody owns private property, they have the option to decide if they want smoking there or not,” Day said. “If somebody owns a restaurant and they want to allow smoking, then if somebody else is bothered by that smoke they just don’t have to go there. If somebody wants to have a totally smoke free restaurant, then smokers have that same option.”

Day said he could support some parts of the bill, however.

“The bill has different parts and some of the parts, as I understand it, say ‘no smoking in government owned vehicles.’ I’ve got no problem with that,” Day said. “But that would be in state-owned cars. If that police car is owned by a local government and they say that smoking in the cars is okay, that’s up to them.”

Day said he considers the Republican co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Walk Bivins of St. Louis County, to be a friend, but disagrees with his proposal.

“I know the general goal of it; my understanding is they are basically trying to put smoke-free standards in place for the vast majority of public places,” Day said.

“I don’t think it’s any of my business as a state legislator when it comes to smoking in private property,” Day said. “Whoever took the risk to start the business and pay the taxes has the right to determine whether they want smokers there or not.”

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