Thursday, July 5, 2007

list of smoke-free cities grows

With the recent Kansas Supreme Court decision upholding the Lawrence smoking ban (Steffes v. City of Lawrence), Lenexa has added itself to the list of smoke-free Kansas cities.

In Steffes, the Court said that in the absence of a uniform state law preempting such restrictions on smoking, the Constitutional principle of Home Rule allows municipalities to practice self-governance by establishing laws to govern their own local affairs. The Court also said the Lawrence law is specific enough to allow a person of average intelligence to comply with its requirements and, thus, not unconstitutionally vague.

Kansas cities with some form of smoking ban include Lawrence, Abilene, Garden City, Overland Park, Leawood, Olathe, Roeland Park, Fairway, Prairie Village and Mission Woods. Salina bans smoking in public establishments between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance in 2004 that puts a smoking ban in place once 85% of the metro-area population enacts a ban.

According to a recent poll of Kansans commissioned by the Sunflower Foundation, a significant majority (71%) support a state-wide ban on smoking in public establishments and workplaces. State Senator David Wysong, a Republican from Leawood, said he has requested the Legislature appoint an interim committee to study the possibility of a state-wide smoking ban based on these poll results. The Interim Committee on Judiciary includes the topic on its list of issues to study before the next legislative session begins in January 2008. Perhaps the idea will get traction, but I'm skeptical.

Sources:
Statewide Smoking Ban has Support
Smoke-free Laws Reach Most of U.S.
Americans for Non-Smokers Rights
Court Upholds Lawrence Smoking Ban
Kansas Supreme Court Rules Smoking Ban Constitutional

Diana Lee is a solo practitioner in Lawrence, Kansas. She can be reached at law@dianalee.net. Copyright © Diana Lee (2007) All Rights Reserved. No portion of this material may be copied, transmitted, posted, duplicated or otherwise used without the express written approval of Diana Lee.

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