I didn’t spot this January 24th blog post by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, Paul Hampel, until after reading a Letter to the Editor from Bill Hannegan, published last Thursday. Mr. Hampel’s post elicited 28 comments from both pro-smoking and smoke-free air supporters, which you’ll find here: Comments.
Bill Hannegan’s letter in the January 31, 2013, St.Louis Post-Dispatch once again urges St. Louis County Council to make an ‘over 21’ rule to exempt bars from smoke-free air laws. This is in response to County Councilman Mike O’Mara’s recently-announced proposal to eliminate existing loopholes in the law, which currently allows selected bars an exemption from St. Louis County’s smoke-free air law.
This has become Bill’s theme following enactment of the current pretty comprehensive laws in both St. Louis City and County that provide for smoke-free air in most places of employment, including restaurants. The biggest exemptions are for small bars and the casino gaming areas.
MoGASP supports eliminating them but Bill wants to move in the other direction for no good reason that I can perceive, his main argument being based on fallacious “Private property rights.” Below I’ve reproduced the article and I’ll follow up later with Bill’s published letter.
Hannegan rallies pro-smokers in St. Louis County
January 24, 2013 11:52 am • By Paul Hampel firstname.lastname@example.org 314-727-6234
ST. LOUIS COUNTY • Smokers’ rights advocate Bill Hannegan has sent letters to owners of all 135 establishments in the county that hold exemptions to the countywide smoking ban, urging them to protest a proposal that would remove almost all exemptions to the ban.
Last week, County Councilman Mike O’Mara, D-Florissant, introduced a bill to make the ban more strict.
O’Mara said his proposal was designed to “level the playing field” for businesses that don’t have the exemptions.
After introducing the bill, O’Mara referred it to committee for study.
Hannegan, of St. Louis, is the director of Keep St. Louis Free and perhaps the staunchest defender of smoking rights in the region.
His letter states, in part: “St. Louis County bar owner, if you, your patrons and your staff protest the theft of your exemption, the chances are very good that Councilman O’Mara will restore your bar’s exemptions to his ordinance and the Council will vote down any law that does not exempt your establishment.”