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Voters Get Final Call on Smoking, Alcohol Bans

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Following Monday night’s city council vote, Springfield citizens will now have a say in two controversial ordinances come April. KSMU’s Justin Lux has the details.

Voters will decide whether to place a ban on the sale of alcohol inside movie theaters, as well smoking in indoor public places.

Springfield City Council members had the option to either immediately make the initiatives law, or to put them on the ballot and let residents vote.

Robert Stephens is one of the city council members who voted in favor of bringing the issues to Springfield voters.

“People have gone to the trouble to collect the proper number of signatures and so forth, that is a right given to you under the first amendment, and I will always vote yes on something like that, whether I agree with the issue or not,” he says.

Also included in the ballot will be a vote on whether to ban smoking in indoor public places. Carrie Reynolds is a spokesperson for Clean Air Springfield, one of the groups that spearheaded the smoking ban initiative.

“There was certainly was a lot of research and a lot of education done to look at the effects of smoking on our community and if this truly was a health issue for and when it was determined that it was it was definitely time to move forward and protect their health,” she says.

As it stands now, smoking is allowed in bars and some restaurants. If the ordinance passes, only private residences and hotels with fewer than 25% of their rooms designated as smoking rooms will be able to allow smoking.

Some local residents, like Natasha Lopez, feel that if you choose to be in a place that allows smoking, then it’s just something you must put up with.

“As far as the smoking ban goes, I think whenever people go to some places they know there is smoking there, I don’t like smoking myself, but I think they probably know that they’re going to go into the smoky atmosphere so live and let live I guess,” she says.

Others, like Joe Hills, say a ban against alcohol in movie theaters is going too far and that while he is against cigarettes overall, it’s still a person’s right in the appropriate setting.

“With the movie alcohol ban, I’m against the ban, I think that they can card people for identification and maintain sufficient safeguards with regard to that. The smoking ban, I don’t like cigarette smoke, but I think one should be able to step outside and enjoy a cigarette,” Hills says.

Included in the smoking ban would be tobacco shops like Just for Him and the Albatross Hookah Lounge. Those are places that Springfield resident Max Benecke says deserve a pass.

“They should at least give some kind of permit allowable to businesses like the Albatross. Overall, I think I agree with banning smoking in most establishments,” says Benecke.

The initiative does include an exemption for movie theaters, such as the Moxie, that are operated by non-profit groups.

Springfield voters will be able to cast their vote concerning the ordinances on April 5th.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.