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Smoking ban ready for vote

The fate of a smoking ban is still up in the air, but commissioners are closer than ever to putting the issue to a vote after a meeting earlier this week.

The McDuffie County Commission discussed several changes to the proposed McDuffie County Smoke-free Air Act during a work session on Monday night.

Commissioners tentatively decided that the ordinance could receive an up-or-down vote on March 15.

Commissioner Bob Farr suggested waiting until after a vote on a similar state bill currently circulating in the legislature.

Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said by their meeting date, the state bill should have been voted upon; if it isn't passed, commissioners would then decide on a ban in the unincorporated areas of the county.

"We are very pleased that the board of commissioners has agreed to consider this," said Mary Ann Kotras, executive director of McDuffie County Partners for Success who is helping organize the effort in support of the ban.

After the Jan. 31 public hearing, several commissioners asked supporters of the ban to revise the proposed ordinance to encompass fewer businesses and loosen some of the requirements such as posting no smoking signs on all business entrances.

"We revised the ordinance so that it would be something in which we could meet on common ground," Dr. Kotras said.

"We are very pleased, from our standpoint, in terms of what the commissioners are willing to accept."

Chairman Newton made a few suggestions, and a revised version was presented to commissioners during Monday's work session.

Commissioner Fred Favors asked during the work session that several of the deletions be added back into the ordinance.

He suggested that all retail stores be included in the ban as well as food production operations and marketing establishments.

County Manager Don Norton also said grocery stores should be included as well as county vehicles at all times, not only when transporting non-government employees.

"To me when it was presented as a ban in the dining areas of restaurants, the closer we stayed to that the more reasonable it seemed to be," Chairman Newton said. "As long as the right provisions are in there ... I don't have a problem voting for it. If retail establishments and all that stays in there, then I may have somewhat of a problem voting for it."

The commission plans to vote on each section of the ordinance individually; then the entire document will receive a vote.

Commission seeks public input
 • E-mail your comments for the McDuffie County Commission to smokingban@thomson-mcduffie.net

Documents
 • McDuffie County Smoke-free Air Act (.pdf)
(.pdf format requires Adobe Reader, click here for free download)

On the Net
 •  View public comments at Thomson-McDuffie.net

Previous stories
 • Smoking ban passes State House as McDuffie waits
 • County sets smoking hearing for Monday
 • Columbia ban begins; McDuffie considers same
 • Local business owners surveyed on prospect of smoking ban
 • Commissioners agree to public hearing on smoking ban
 • Smoking ban to get more discussion
 • Group plans to ask for ban on smoking

Poll
 • Should McDuffie County Commissioners approve a ban on smoking in public places in McDuffie County?

Opinion
 • Mind your butts and your community
 • Reasons Why
 • Smoking ban deserves commissioners' consideration
 • Smoke free is the way to be in McDuffie County

Your Say
 • Freedom to breathe freely

Letters to the Editor
 • Ban should be supported
 • Public health at root of ban
 • Time for smoking ban is now
 • Ban is about changing quality of lives for the better
 • Smoking ban push is a "great cause" to support
 • Ban would deter second-hand exposure
 • Protect the rights and health of people
 • Ban is about changing quality of lives for the better



Web posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2005











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