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Public hearing scheduled at Paris City Council tonight on proposed city-wide no-smoking ordinance

eParisExtra logoA proposal to prohibit all smoking in restaurants, bars and private clubs, as well as other places frequented by the public will be considered by the Paris City Council tonight.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the City Council chambers at 107 E. Kaufman St. It will be near the top of the agenda.

The idea came up for discussion at meetings of the council on both Jan. 13 and 27, and those favoring a ban far out-numbered those against it.

But it hasn’t been an action item before. The recommendation to the council is for a motion “to adopt ordinance as prepared, or provide direction to staff.”

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people were at the Jan. 27 meeting, but the smoking ban proposal was not on the agenda as an action item.

Mayor AJ Hashmi asked that it be put on tonight’s agenda as an action item, but he also announced any council action would be preceded by a public hearing at which all citizens would have an opportunity to voice their opinions.

“My position has not changed,” Hashmi said. “As a cardiologist, the aspect of health is obviously very important to me. But there are many people who feel a smoking ban is an infringement of their personal rights. A case can be made for both, based upon which side you’re standing on. You know, as Texans, we don’t like people telling us what we can do at our place of business.”

He added: “We all know that smoking is not good for health, but the council will have to decide on the basis of what is best for the community.”

At the council meetings of both Jan. 13 and Jan. 27, council members all endorsed the idea of a smoking ban.

The ordinance prepared by City Attorney Kent McIlyar would impose a smoking ban on:

  • City-owned facilities and property.
  • All enclosed areas, including buildings, vehicles and outdoor property next to buildings under the control of the city of Paris.
  • Enclosed public places.
  • Aquariums, galleries, libraries and museums.
  • Areas available to the general public in businesses and non-profit entities patronized by the public, including banks, Laundromats, professional offices and retail service establishments.
  • Bars.
  • Bingo facilities.
  • Child care and adult day care facilities.
  • Convention faciliies.
  • Educational facilities, both public and private.
  • Elevators.
  • Gaming facilities.
  • Health care facilities.
  • Hotels and motels.
  • Lobbies, hallways and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes and other multiple-unit residential facilities.
  • Polling places.
  • Public transportation vehicles, including buses and taxicabs under the city’s authorities, and ticket, boardingand waiting areas of public transportation facilities including bus, train and the airport.
  • Restaurants.
  • Restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common-use areas.
  • retail stores.
  • Rooms, chambers, places of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings subbect to the jurisdiction of the city.
  • Sports arenas.
  • Theaters and other facilities primarily used for public performances.
  • Outdoor places where two or more employees are required to be int he course of their employment. This includes work areas, construction sites, temporary offices such as trailers, restroom facilities and vehicles.
  • Within 20 feet of outside entrances, operable windows and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is banned.
  • Outdoor seatong or serving areas of restaurants and bars and within 20 feet of those areas.
  • Outdoor playgrounds and within 20 feet of any outdoor playground.

Smoking would not be banned in private residences unless used as a childcare, adult day care or health care facility.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra