If the proposed smoking ordinance St. Clair’s aldermen currently are considering passes as is, individuals will not be allowed to light up in any enclosed public place within the city limits.
City Attorney Kurt Voss put together the ordinance based on what the Washington City Council adopted last year. St. Clair’s four aldermen are reviewing the potential law and are scheduled to discuss it when they next meet on Monday, June 16.
The board as well as the city’s administration have said before any ordinance is passed, a public hearing will be conducted. A date for that has not been set.
The smoking ban has been an agenda item for five consecutive meetings beginning in April, and little actual discussion has taken place.
The ordinance would be known as “The St. Clair Smoke-Free Air Act of 2014.”
Language in the ordinance that the aldermen currently are reviewing states that “smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed public places within the city of St. Clair.”
It then specifically lists bars; bingo facilities; child care and adult day care facilities; convention facilities; public and private educational facilities; elevators; gaming facilities; health care facilities; hotels and motels except in designated private rooms allowed for smoking and rented to guests; lobbies, hallways and other enclosed common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes and other multiple-rent residential facilities; public transportation vehicles; restaurants; restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common-use areas; retail stores; rooms, chambers and places of meeting or public assembly; shopping malls; sports arenas; and theaters and other similar entertainment facilities.
In addition, smoking will be prohibited in enclosed places of employment, enclosed residential facilities and in membership clubs.
As far as outdoor areas, people would not be able to smoke within 10 feet of a main building entrance or ventilation system, within 20 feet of bleachers and grandstands and within 20 feet of playgrounds. The ordinance also reads that after June 30, 2015, 100 percent of hotel and motel rooms will be designated non-smoking.
The ordinance does not apply to private residences, unless the building is used for child, adult or health care purposes, and in designated smoking shelters.
Under the enforcement section of the ordinance, language states that “an owner, manager, operator or employee of an area regulated by this ordinance shall direct a person who is smoking in violation of this ordinance to extinguish the product being smoked. If the person does not stop smoking, the owner, manager, operator or employee shall refuse service and shall immediately ask the person to leave the premises. If the person in violation refuses to leave the premises, the owner, manager, operator or employee shall contact the police department.”
A violator could be fined up to $50 for a first offense. Subsequent penalties would follow already established laws in the city’s code of ordinances.
Also, a person who owns, manages, operates or controls a public place or place of employment and who fails to comply with the provisions of the ordinance can be fined $100 for a first violation, up to $200 for a second offense and up to $500 for each additional violation within a year’s time.
In addition, the business license could be suspended or revoked.
Each day in which a violation occurs would be deemed a separate offense.
Monday’s agenda was not made available by Friday’s press deadline so it is unknown what other items will be discussed.
The public is invited to the meeting.