Austin Smoking Ban Finale
When I first heard about the new Austin smoking ordinance, I had hoped whatever sanity was left in the City Council would just block the damn idea and move on to more important things. Of course, I underestimated them and now here we are.
The agenda of the City Council has the proposed smoking law (PDF) set for it's final reading and voting on the 5th. The full text of the document being considered can be found online; former link has just the proposed law rather than all the "official" arguments in the latter.
It looks bad, folks. The definitions in the draft...
Employee - a person who volunteers for a non-profit entity
Employer - a person that employs the services of one or more individuals
Enclosed area - a space that is enclosed on all sides by solid walls that extend from the floor to the ceiling, exclusive of windows and doors
Operator - the owner or person in charge of a public place or workplace, including an employer
Retail tobacco store - a retail store used primarily for the sale of tobacco products and accessories and in which the sale of other non-tobacco products is incidental
Smoking - to inhale or exhale the smoke from or to have a lighted tobacco product
Workplace - an enclosed area in which employeeswork or have access during the course of their employment
Someone commits an offense if he or she
None of this applies to
Pissed off yet? There's more.
And finally, the cold reality of the deal: the penalties...
Then there's a whole mess about "public education of tobacco's dangers" and the responsibility of city government to take care of it.
This entire ordeal is BULLSHIT. It doesn't even affect me (I quit over two years ago) and it's made me angry. The pointless loopholes (what the fuck does being a non-profit or a bingo hall have to do with anything!??!), the sheer arbitrariness (14 pool tables and it's your ass), and the general stupidity (why can't hotels and motels make up their own damn mind about smoking room percentages???). Not only am I angry about the draft and the things it wants to do, but I'm even angrier at the people who want this to pass, who've made it part of their agenda (I'm talking to you, Gus Garcia, you prick!), who've assumed the role of Austin City Health Facist, who think you and I deserve no control over our bodies and property, who believe economic damages in a weak economy are irrelevant in the State Crusade Against Unhealthy Things, and who arrogantly assume they have the right to think and act for each person in the city.
Fuck them all. I've never wanted a cigarette more.
How the city plans to enforce this:
The ban will be enforced on a complaint basis, handled by Health and Human Services.
Any person caught violating the ban can be fined up to $2,000 and an establishment could have its operating license revoked.
Good news: the Austin Smoking Task Force Report is in and it's definitely worth your read.
The ban, initially scheduled to take affect on May 1st, has been posponed:
The city of Austin's new smoking ordinance will likely be postponed a month until June 1. The main reason is to give restaurants more time to show they've improved their air quality.
Dan McClusky's owner Steve Batlin lucked out. His restaurant has always had a separate room for non-smokers and smokers.
"I really don't think it's necessary. I'm a non-smoker myself. I think it's coming," Batlin said.
The new smoking ordinance is coming, but now it may be one month later. Before they get a smoking permit, restaurants must show they have dual ventilation systems. Lots of business owners installed them to meet the previous ordinance, but the city didn't keep a list.
Copyright ©2004TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. d.b.a. News 8 Austin
Austin Smoking Ban in Effect Today
UPDATED 5/9/2005 9:15am
The Additional Tyranny - The New Austin Smoking Ban Passes
UPDATED 8/30/2005 1:55pm
Deadline for the Austin Smoking Ordinance