K.C. City Council approves smoking ban measures

Friday, January 25, 2008 | 12:50 p.m. CST; updated 1:44 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City City Council approved a measure Thursday that bans smoking from most restaurants and the Truman Sports Complex but allows smoking in bars.

The council also repealed an earlier proposal to put that plan on the April 8 ballot.

This action left just one smoking measure for voters to consider — a proposal placed on the ballot by a citizen petition — which would extend the smoking ban to bars, tobacco stores and pool halls. It would allow smoking on casino floors, but only until it is also banned in neighboring cities.

The smoking restrictions will take effect in 60 days. But if voters approve the ballot measure, it will replace the council-adopted measure.

“It is a step forward. It is not as far as a lot of people would like to go,” Councilman John Sharp said in support of the council’s move to prohibit smoking from establishments that serve children. He said the council had to consider both public health and the livelihood of small businesses.

But council members Bill Skaggs, Cathy Jolly, Beth Gottstein and Jan Marcason disagreed.

Jolly, an advocate for the petitioners’ ban, said the council should not have short-circuited the democratic process.

The council measure, which passed 8-4, includes bans on smoking in all city facilities, restaurants that do not have liquor licenses and the Truman Sports Complex, including open-air concourses. The council measure also would ban smoking in restaurants with liquor licenses, except from 9 p.m. until closing in establishments that limit admission to those over 21 during those hours and that post signs on that policy.

Spokesmen for the Chiefs and Royals said the teams were surprised they were not consulted about the new restrictions for the Truman Sports Complex.

Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said smoking now is currently added: currently banned in the stands and bathrooms but allowed in the concourses. Moore said he would like to look at what other NFL stadiums do and to added: to take that into consideration in Kansas City.

Royals spokesman Mike Swanson said smoking is currently allowed at Kauffman Stadium in designated areas, which he said are away from the concourses.

The council measure does allow some exemptions. For example, bars that receive their primary revenue from liquor sales would be exempt from the ban. Smoking would also be allowed in pool halls, tobacco stores and on casino floors.

Ordinance sponsor Ed Ford said families with anyone under 21 would have to leave a restaurant if smoking were allowed, even if they hadn’t finished eating.

Jolly said that was “ridiculous.”

“What are restaurants going to do at 8:45 p.m.? Announce last call for food for families with children?” she asked.

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