Smoking Ban

(Flickr/Creative Commons user SuperFantastic)

If there’s one constant about the sometimes-unpredictable St. Louis County Council, it’s that a bid to expand the county’s smoking ban will always be tabled. 

That’s not hyperbole. Members of the council have held Councilman Mike O’Mara’s proposal at every meeting since February 2013 – a pretty significant length of time to table a bill in any legislative chamber.

(Flickr/Creative Commons user SuperFantastic)

For the third year in a row an effort to create a smoking ban in St. Charles County is underway.

The St. Charles County Council began considering a bill Monday night that would restrict indoor smoking, but exempt any establishment that requires customers be at least 21-years-old. That provision would mean people could continue to light up in many bars and gambling areas.

(scroll down to ready a copy of the bill)

Councilman Joe Cronin is the bill’s sponsor and said a ban is critical to protecting public health.

(Flickr/Creative Commons user SuperFantastic)

The owners of more than three dozen restaurants and bars in St. Louis County filed into the County Council chambers in Clayton today with one request - please let us continue to allow smoking.

The owners were there at the request of Councilman Mike O'Mara, who's introduced a bill eliminating nearly all the exemptions in the county's smoking ban. Currently, bars that make less than 25 percent of their revenue from food may receive an exemption. Bowling alleys and casino gaming floors are also exempt.

Flickr Creative Commons user SuperFantastic

Republican members of the Missouri House who smoke will still be able to, while Democrats won’t.

A new rule adopted today by the full House allows each party caucus within the House to set its own rules for such things as whether a lawmaker can smoke in his or her own Capitol office.  Shelley Keeney (R, Marble Hill) chairs the House GOP Caucus.

“I do think it was a good compromise," Keeney said.  "Clearly there were a wide range of views and opinions on the issue.”

Flickr Creative Commons user SuperFantastic

Missouri House Democrats can no longer smoke in their own offices at the Capitol.

The decision was not made by the entire caucus, but by the seven Democrats who make up the caucus’ leadership, including Minority Floor Leader Jake Hummel (D, St. Louis).

(via Flickr/seannaber)

The Missouri Supreme Court will not hear a legal challenge to Springfield's smoking ban, officially ending a lawsuit filed by a bar owner.
 
Attorney Jonathan Sternberg says the state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a legal challenge by Jean Doublin, owner of Ruthie's Bar in Springfield.
 
In June, an appeals court rejected Sternberg's argument that the Springfield law conflicts with the state's clean air act. He says a provision in the state law allows smoking in bars and taverns, which overrides the Springfield law.
 

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Three people killed on Grand Bridge following early morning police chase

The Grand Bridge was closed for several hours early Thursday morning as the result of a vehicle crash that left three people dead and another person critically injured.

The crash happened as the car was fleeing police.

SuperFantastic / Flickr

Representatives for Ameristar Casino say they will file a lawsuit Tuesday morning to block a November ballot question on whether or not to ban smoking in St Charles County. 

According to casino representatives, if passed, the ban could put it at a disadvantage because patrons at other casinos in the state can light up when they gamble.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ill. Gov to take action on gambling bill today

UPDATE: As of 9:25 a.m., Quinn has vetoed this bill.
Gov. Pat Quinn isn't giving any hints about what he'll do with a gambling bill that Illinois lawmakers sent to his desk. Today is the deadline for Quinn to take action on legislation that would establish five new casinos in the state. It would also allow slot machines at horse racing tracks.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

St. Charles County voters could face two anti-smoking ballot measures

St. Charles County voters could face not one but two ballot measures in November that would restrict smoking.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Nixon will announce budget cuts today

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to announce today if he’ll make any reductions to the state budget – ending weeks of speculation for university and social service program administrators.

Nixon this week signed legislation funding public schools and the state departments of health and mental health without making any cuts.

(file photo)

Anti-smoking advocates want more smoking bans

Groups against smoking are urging the St. Louis County Council to make changes to the smoking ban that went into effect last year.

Currently, businesses whose food sales result in 25 percent of gross sales including food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are eligible for an exemption from the smoking ban. There are 145 businesses that currently allow smoking in the county.

SLPRnews

In the year since St. Louis City and County banned smoking in most bars and restaurants, some business owners say that exemptions to the ban have hurt their bottom line more than the ban itself.

Marty Ginsburg, owners of the Sports Page Bar in Chesterfield, says bars where smoking is permitted have an unfair advantage.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Smoking bans were implemented in several areas in St. Louis in 2011, including in the city and county.

Sarah Shelton, a data analyst with the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University in St. Louis, told St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach as part of our series “A Good Year” that, overall, it’s been a good year for non-smokers.

(via Flickr/danieljordahl)

Smoking opponents are back to the drawing board in St. Charles County

(via Flickr/Drongowski)

A higher percentage of Missouri's workers are exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke than in any other state.

A 2007 telephone survey funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health looked at the tobacco use, health, and demographics of close to 24,000 indoor Missouri workers.  About 12 percent were exposed to secondhand smoke, compared to about 7 percent of workers nationwide.

(via Flickr/shnnn)

St. Louis County's "Indoor Clean Air Code" - also referred to as a smoking ban -has been in effect since Jan. 1. But in contains exemptions for some bars, banquet halls, and casinos.

The American Cancer Society opposed the measure because of those exemptions. And shortly after it took effect, Charlie Dooley called the 110 exemptions that had been handed out "unacceptable." But there's been no movement yet on tightening the language in the ban, approved by voters last November.

The ACS is hoping that a poll it commissioned and released today moves the needle a bit on that effort.

(via Flickr/curran)

Starting Friday, there will be no smoking on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus.

In November 2010, the University General Assembly approved the policy which bans smoking on all campus property, both indoors and outdoors.

Bob Samples is vice chancellor of marketing and communications at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He said the new policy is part of a national movement.

File photo

St. Charles County Executive Vetoes Smoking Ban Proposal

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann has blocked a countywide smoking ban proposal from going on the November 2012 ballot. Ehlmann said Tuesday that he vetoed the bill because it would have unfairly exempted casinos, cigar bars and certain hotel rooms.

The council in the St. Louis-area county voted 4-2 in favor of putting the ban on the ballot, with one opponent absent. It would take five votes to override the veto.

(via Flickr/curran)

A bill to put the decision about a county-wide smoking ban on the 2012 ballot in St. Charles County was vetoed today by County Executive Steve Ehlmann, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Joplin Clean-up Continues

Cleanup efforts in Joplin will move ahead today when Gov. Jay Nixon says crews will begin hauling away debris left by a massive tornado that leveled a third of the city and killed 139 people.

Government officials say the rubble will be taken to three landfills - two in Kansas and one in Lamar, Mo. Environmental officials have said the debris must be handled carefully because it could contain asbestos used in the construction of older buildings and other hazardous waste.

(Flickr/Cast a Line)

East St. Louis School District Sends Layoff Notices to 237 Teachers

In an effort to save $9 million, the East St. Louis Board voted Tuesday to notify 287 teachers that they might not be hired back next year. That’s according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The district serves about 7,300 students and has 562 full-time teachers.

The district is also proposing to close three schools.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with details from press conference, comments from city officials.

Calling smoking a fundamental right in America, attorneys have filed a federal legal challenge to Clayton's ban on smoking in outdoor  public places.

The Missouri Athletic Club has received the first citation for violating St. Louis city's ban on smoking.

Interim health director Pamela Rice Walker says the club mistakenly believes it's exempt from the measure as a private club, saying the exemption only applies if there are no employees.

She says the department first heard about violations at the club in January, and gave the MAC 30 days to comply.

  • January continues to be a snowy, slipper month for the St. Louis area. Several accidents are being reported this morning, and several schools are closed - many for the third in a row. The latest problems come after about an inch of snow fell yesterday, followed by a light freezing drizzle this morning. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said interstates 64 and 70 in parts of St. Louis and St. Charles are particularly slick.
  • St.
LawPrieR|Flickr

The largest adult health study ever conducted in Missouri is underway across the state. The topic? Tobacco use and the diseases it causes.

The Missouri Foundation for Health is providing close to $2 million in funding for the telephone survey, which is expected to include more than 52,000 people.

Missouri Foundation for Health program officer Matthew Kuhlenbeck says the survey is a follow-up to a similar study conducted in 2007.

(via Flickr / Super Fantastic)

There must be thousands of St. Louisans struggling through day three of a new year's resolution not to smoke.  In fact, Barry Freedman, Project Manager for Communities Putting Prevention to Work with the St. Louis County Department of Health says a survey of St. Louis smokers shows that nearly 60% say they'd like to quit in the next six months.  

Happy New Year's Eve! We hope you have a great end of 2010 and beginning of 2011! Here are a few news stories buzzing around the St. Louis Area today. 

  • Anheuser-Busch will renew its sponsorship with Major League Baseball. According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the St. Louis-based brewer and MLB came to an agreement on Thursday to also drop the litigation stemming from the contract dispute. Anheuser-Busch sued the league last month for allegedly breaching a sponsorship contract after MLB reportedly wanted more money and said the deal was non-binding and it could use other beer sponsors. The deal designates Budweiser as official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and is worth an estimated $10 million.
  • Smoking bans go into effect Sunday in both St. Louis city and St. Louis County. County residents voted last year to approve the ban. The City's Board of Aldermen passed a ban that was contingent on the county's vote. Both health departments will be in charge of enforcement. The county is not expecting enforcement to be a problem. In the county individuals who don't abide by the ban can be fined $50  while business owners could be fined $100 for the first offense and more for subsequent offenses.
  • The newly approved city budget in East St. Louis calls for laying off 34 municipal employees, including 16 police officers. The Belleville News-Democrat reports the East St. Louis City Council unanimously voted Thursday to accept the nearly $62 million budget. Besides laying off the 16 police officers, the new budget also calls for a delay in calling some firefighters back to work, plus laying off four public works employees, one jailer and one full- and one part-time telecommunicator.

(Flickr Creative Commons User nan palmero)

Good morning! Here's a look at the headlines:

St. Louis Public Radio

In a blog post on the busiest travel day of the year last year, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay made it clear he wanted to make Lambert Airport smoke-free.

That goal is now policy.

The mayor's office announced Monday that starting January 2, passengers at Lambert who want to smoke will have to step outside. The airport's smoking lounges will no longer be available.

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