St. Charles County Considers Smoking Ban Again

County Councilman Joe Cronin proposes a smoking ban with exemptions for businesses that offer

The St. Charles County Council is again considering a countywide smoking ban. 
County Councilman Joe Cronin, R-St. Paul, introduced a bill Monday that would ban smoking in public and enclosed places except for those that are only open to people and employees age 21 and older. The gambling areas of Ameristar Casino would be exempted under the ban along with most bars in St. Charles County. 
The ban would apply to all parts of the county, but municipalities could enact more stringent laws. Currently O'Fallon and Lake Saint Louis have smoking bans. 
Cronin has tried several times to get a smoking ban passed. The most recent effort, which would have put two propositions before voters last November, was thrown out by a judge for procedural reasons. An ordinance passed by the County Council in 2011 was vetoed by County Executive Steve Ehlmann. 
This bill was crafted as a compromise, Cronin said, and doesn't even make the proponents of a smoking ban happy because it doesn't go far enough. He said his goal is to protect children from secondhand smoke. 
"I want to make the county a healthier place while preserving business rights," he said. 
Councilman Mike Elam questioned where the County would draw the line after enacting this ban. He wondered whether the county would eventually try to ban things like alcohol or Happy Meals. 
"I think it comes down to you know whether or not they smoke in there, i think if you don't want to eat at a place or drink at a place that has smoking, you turn around and walk out," he said. 
Councilman Joe Brazil also opposes the proposal. 
Councilman Terry Hollander, who supported Cronin's previous bills, said he believes the smoking ban should go before voters because it contains restrictions. 
"It's one of the things we've pretty much insinuated for the past two years that if anything did come from us, it would be with the idea that the people have the opportunity to weigh in and vote," he said. 
Councilman John White also supports putting the matter before voters. He said businesses have thrived in places where smoking bans have been put into place. 
"I think the problem is people are afraid of change and think their liberties are going to be taken away from them," he said. "When it's done statewide, it doesn't hurt anybody." 

tony bethmann September 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Keeping taking business rights away. Joe Cronin calls himself conservative. He's a joke
acarpenter1 September 13, 2013 at 09:34 AM
opal schneider September 14, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Stop wasting tax dollars with these proposals. We voted and our voice was heard . What do people not understand ?
Rachel Faulkner September 15, 2013 at 09:53 AM
I find myself going out in O'Fallon over St. Charles because I LOVE O'Fallon's smoking ban. Cigarette smoke makes it hard for me to breathe & it makes my eyes itchy & irritated. I might actually go back to some St. Charles establishments should they pass the ban.
Aaron Hager September 18, 2013 at 01:19 PM
How can they say this "preserves business rights" when all it does it take away right from the business (and the individual)? How is the general populace to dumb to accept this type of double-speak. Just say it like it is. They should also ban all semi-automatic firearms, to preserve the 2nd amendment.........


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