Assembly set to vote on new smoking ordinance Monday

Posted: Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Juneau Assembly agreed Wednesday to only seek a level competitive "playing field" among bars with a rewritten Second-Hand Smoke Control Ordinance that is expected to be up for a decision at the regular meeting Monday.

Mayor Bruce Botelho asked the Assembly members to focus on the proposed amendment "concepts" rather than specific language during the hour-long work session. The city attorney would worry about the words once directed, Botelho said.

No public comments or testimony were taken as the Assembly discussed the pros and cons of any number of changes to the city ordinance originally written in 2001.

A majority of the members agreed to not ban outdoor smoking areas, not to remove an exemption allowing businesses with four or fewer employees to smoke and not to allow "smoking rooms" in bars or restaurants.

City attorney John Hartle said bar owners asked the city to level the "playing field" by closing a loop hole allowing private clubs such as the Eagles and Donna's restaurants to continue hosting smokers.

Bar owners lined up at the last Assembly meeting to complain about a loss of business to places that still allowed smoking. The testimony derailed any vote on the new ordinance.

Monday the Assembly is expected to vote on a newly written ordinance that includes private clubs in the ban.

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