Congratulations to Clean Air Springfield and in particular Carrie Reynolds, Clean Air representative and Dr. Jim Blaine who spearheaded the successful election on April 5, 2011 at which the Springfield voters approved a Clean Air Ordinance by a 53% to 46% margin margin. The Springfield ordinance prohibits smoking indoors in the workplace and in public places and outdoors within 5 feet of a city playground or a door to a building that is covered by the ordinance. A copy of the ordinance approved by the voters can be obtained on-line at Clean Air Springfield. The ordinance goes into effect on June 6, 2011.
The opponents of the Clean Air Ordinance promised a legal challenge, which seems highly unlikely to be successful considering the current case-law discussed in my earlier Post on Clean Air ordinances and the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows the adverse affect of second-hand indoor smoke. Voters also approved a no smoking ordinance in O’Fallon and Webb City by significant margins although the voters narrowly defeated an ordinance in Cape Girardeau.
Unlike statewide initiatives in Missouri, a voter approved initiative in Springfield actually means something because it cannot be changed by City Council action for the first six months and thereafter only with the unanimous consent of all nine members of the City Council. In Missouri, the state legislature routinely repeals or changes voter-approved initiatives – like the voter approved campaign contributions limits that was repealed – and now the legislature has under consideration legislation to repeal the voter approved minimum wage and the anti-puppy mill initiative. Seems like the voters do not get any respect! Is it time to amend the Missouri Constitution to protect voter approved state initiatives by prohibiting a change in the law for a number of years after passage and only with a super majority for a number of years? What do you think? Let me know.
CNN and the Wall Street Journal report that studies show heart attack rates have gone down by 17% in Ireland where there was a nationwide ban on smoking in public places and that there are other dramatic health improvements in communities after the adoption of an indoor smoking ban in the workplace and in public places. It will be interesting to measure public health improvements in Springfield to determine the impact of the Clean Air Ordinance.