The proposed ordinance to ban smoking in Tyler has passed this morning, KLTV 7 News has learned.
The ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed areas including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and bowling alleys. The ordinance also prohibits smoking within 20 feet of a designated non smoking facility. The recommended violation will be a misdemeanor offense and a fine of up to 300 dollars, a second offense calls for a fine of $500.
To view the full proposed ordinance go to www.cityoftyler.org and click on My Tyler News.
Update - 12:25pm: The City of Tyler has released a statement on the passed ordinance. It reads as follows:
The Tyler City Council voted unanimously to adopt a new smoking ordinance at the Special Called Council Meeting Feb. 6. The ordinance calls for stricter smoking regulations that would eliminate smoking in public places and places of employment, including restaurants and bars.
"Today the Council carefully reviewed all of the public comments and took the implications of this ordinance change very seriously. We all sympathize with the effect that this may have on some of our businesses and respect those who are concerned about the implications it has on the personal freedoms of those who choose to smoke," said Mayor Joey Seeber. "In the end, it came down to a matter of public health. The most recent overwhelming evidence indicates that there is no safe level of second-hand smoke. I believe that the Council took a difficult but courageous step today in improving the long-term health of our citizens."
The ordinance was presented to the City Council by the Smoking Task Force, appointed by Mayor Seeber in Dec. 2007. The Task Force was charged with making a recommendation to the City Council on potential changes to the current smoking ordinance. The Task Force, chaired by District 5 Councilmember Nathaniel Moran, was comprised of nine Tylerites that represent health professions, local business owners, restaurant and hospitality services as well as Mayor Pro Tem Chris Simons. The Task Force considered input from the medical community, the experiences of other municipalities, outcomes detailed in the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Second Hand Smoke, as well as public input gathered from a public meeting, letters and emails.
"I am particularly proud of the fact that this was a citizen-driven initiative and process that resulted in an ordinance that will benefit the health and welfare of our City for generations to come," said Moran. ""The task force was a microcosm of the City at-large--representing people from the restaurant, retail, business, and medical communities. And, it did a magnificent job receiving and evaluating many sources of information, including public comment, before rendering a balanced recommendation to the Council."
The ordinance precludes smoking within 20 feet of outside entrances, operable windows and ventilation systems of any public place or place of employment. Further, it will be unlawful for a person responsible for a public place to allow smoking in the establishment.
"The Task Force found that this is a compelling health and safety concern that warrants action by the City," said Simons. "Our recommendation addresses this concern while ensuring the ordinance is applied fairly throughout the community."
The ordinance will be effective June 1, 2008 and will be able to be viewed on the City of Tyler website at www.cityoftyler.org.
"Many thanks should be given to the men and women who volunteered their time to serve as part of the Task Force," said Moran. "Their efforts on this important issue will have lasting positive affects on their community, and they should be proud of their service to the City of Tyler."
Task Force members include:
Cathryn Khalil, reporting. email@example.com.