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McDuffie still waiting on state smoking ban

McDuffie County Commissioners continue to play a waiting game with the state government in regards to a ban on smoking in public places.

The McDuffie County Smoke Free Air Act was put on hold once again at the April 4 work session to allow commissioners to find out the fate of a state-wide ban that now sits on Gov. Sonny Purdue's desk.

The Legislature passed the statewide smoking ban late in the session, but not without concessions to lawmakers concerned about how much it would impact business owners.

Though the bill started out as a total ban in restaurants and bars, including outdoor patio areas, the final bill gave an exemption to restaurants and bars that do not allow minors inside.

Another exception was given to private offices with less than 10 workers or where an appointment is required for public visits.

Gov. Perdue said he still has concerns about the ban and had not decided late last week if he would veto the legislation.

"This is a tough one for me personally," Gov. Perdue said Friday, the day after the Legislature adjourned for the year. "I am very concerned ... about government being the end-all and be-all nanny for all people."

Gov. Purdue has until May 10 to either sign or veto the smoking ban. If he signs the bill, it will go into effect on July 1.

In the meantime, McDuffie County Commissioners will keep a close watch on the governor's office before making a decision to move on their ban or throw it out.

The state measure allows counties and cities to pass and enforce stronger measures, but Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said McDuffie's proposed ordinance "is a severely watered-down version."

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, April 6, 2005











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