Council Puts Smoking Ban Repeal On Fast Track; Second Repeal Vote Set For Tuesday
Casper City Council isn't waiting for its next regular meeting to take the next step about voting for two ordinances to repeal two smoking ban ordinances.
Council will hold a special meeting to hear the second reading of the repeal ordinances at City Hall at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Last week, council voted 7-2 to repeal a 2013 ordinance -- nicknamed Smoking Ban Light -- that amended a much stricter 2012 ordinance -- nicknamed Smoking Ban Fully Leaded -- that prohibited smoking in buildings within city limits.
The repeal efforts started two weeks ago. Signatures were verified on a 2013 petition demanding a referendum to overturn the 2013 ordinance that would make the 2012 ban the law. The council was obligated by state law to put the 2012 ordinance back into effect or put the 2013 ordinance up for a vote in a special election estimated to cost $30,000.
Council decided to propose ordinances that would repeal both bans, allowing businesses the option of letting people light up inside.
During the public hearing last week, supporters of repealing the ban said the decision should be left to business owners and to customers whether they want to patronize establishments that allow smoking. Some supporters doubted many businesses that currently don't allow smoking would change their policies.
Opponents of repealing the ban said it would sent a negative message that Casper would be one of the few cities nationwide to do so. Several health care professionals said a smoking ban is good for the economy because such bans elsewhere result in healthier communities and lower health care costs for everyone.
Some supporters of a smoking ban said they would start yet another petition drive to put the issue before the voters if council repeals the 2013 and the 2012 ordinances.
Tuesday, the special 4:30 p.m. meeting will be followed by a work session.
According to the agenda, council will discuss adopting the 2015 International Building, Residential, Mechanical, Plumbing and Fuel Gas Codes. The state already has adopted them and they are part of upgrades every three years. The updated codes have enhanced the requirements for energy conservation, but there are few other changes.
If council tentatively approves the codes, it will formally propose those changes in ordinances.