Cleanup of Smoking Ban Ordinances Stir Up Debate

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 07/21 2014 10:52PM

Updated 07/21 2014 11:02PM

If the smoking ban issue is on the agenda, there's sure to be debate at a St. Joseph City Council meeting.

The highly divisive topic became a focus of Monday night's meeting.

Council members were attempting to repeal a 1992 city smoking ordinance involving public governmental buildings because it had become obsolete due to the new, more restrictive smoking ban that voters passed in April.

Discussion quickly shifted into a debate about the entire ban itself, its enforcement and its fairness to bars and restaurants with the casino getting an exemption.

Councilmember P.J. Kovac jumped in to try and remedy the situation.

"You would get rid of all this controversy if you treated everybody the same," Kovac said "I'm making a motion to include the casino gaming floor."

Deputy Mayor Pat Jones immediately seconded Kovac's motion.

The motion was immediately ruled out of order as it was not on the agenda.

Kovac says he will continue moving toward including the casino gaming floor in the ban.

Meanwhile, the vote to repeal the 1992 ordinance failed on a 5-4 vote.

City Manager Bruce Woody says the vote will play no impact on the enforcement of the current ordinance.

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