On the heels of last night’s first reading on Hannibal’s indoor smoking ban comes a bill in the Missouri legislature that could restrict smoking bans in the Show-Me State.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a story today about a bill in the Missouri House of Representatives (HB 2103) that would prohibit Missouri cities and counties from banning smoking in establishments that derive 60 percent or more of their revenue from alcohol, tobacco or entertainment. That would apply to casinos and to many bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, pool halls and similar businesses.
In a sentiment many smoking ban opponents in Hannibal have echoed, the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Melissa Leach, says that would leave a smoking ban up to individual businesses, not local government. Leach represents Springfield, Mo., which last year passed a citywide smoking ban that she claims has hurt local businesses. (A measure to repeal the smoking ban is on the June ballot there.)
The Missouri Municipal League opposes the bill, saying that taking the teeth out of local government- or voter-approved smoking bans is a blow to local control.
It may be a moot point anyway. Less than a month remains in this Missouri legislative session, and with the bill headed to the House Small Business Committee this week, even Leach acknowledges it would take a miracle for both chambers to pass the bill by the end of the session.
It’s possible that Hannibal’s voter-approved smoking ban could become part of the debate. Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal, sits on the Small Business Committee.
Hannibal voters approved Proposition 1′s indoor smoking ban last month, and the Hannibal City Council gave a first reading Tuesday to the smoking ban, though not without a prolonged debate. (A very public thanks to my colleague Matt Hopf for covering that debate for me last night while I handled a conflicting assignment.) The final council vote is May 15.
Hannibal’s smoking ban would go into effect July 1. It’s unclear what effect Leach’s bill would have on existing ordinances if it is signed into law.