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Smoking ordinance to get review

Assembly members to study issue for public meeting in Sept.

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2001

Juneau Assembly members on Monday will review a proposed ordinance that would ban smoking in restaurants, offices, stores and other public places.

The measure was introduced at the Assembly's last meeting and referred to the Assembly's Committee of the Whole for a work session. Assembly member Ken Koelsch, who suggested the meeting, said he wanted make sure everyone was comfortable with the ordinance before it was put up for public examination.

"My major concern what that we didn't take up our one meeting in September on one issue only. I wanted to make sure we'd done our homework before we got to that stage," he said.

Because of Labor Day, the Assembly has only one meeting next month.

The smoking ban would not apply to enclosed bars and tobacco stores. People smoking outside a building would need to make sure that smoke does not enter through windows, doors or ventilation systems, according to the proposal.

Someone who failed to maintain a smoke-free business or office would face a $200 fine. Someone who was caught smoking where it was prohibited could be fined $50.

Deputy Mayor John MacKinnon said the work session gives Assembly members another opportunity to review the ordinance. He is contemplating a change that would give businesses one year to comply with the ordinance. Currently, the new restrictions would take place 90 days after the ordinance is adopted.

"It's not reasonable ... to give 90 days to make changes. It can take 90 days to make the design needed to separate a bar from a restaurant," he said.

Monday's work session starts at 5 p.m. in Assembly chambers. The ordinance is scheduled for public hearing on Sept. 10, MacKinnon said.

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Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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