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City Council gives initial approval to new smoking restrictions

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

A proposal to add school bus stops to the list of places smoking is not allowed is now a step closer to reality.

The Shelbyville Common Council has approved the addition to the city’s current smoking ordinance on first reading. A second and final reading by the council is due to take place at the council chamber in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., on Nov. 26.

Efforts to ban smoking near school bus stops came after a request by a mother concerned about the health of her child who has asthma.

City Councilman Brad Ridgeway (R-4th Ward) noted that the family lives in his district and praised them and the council for taking action on the issue.

“Government works best when it works for the people,” he said.

The council’s Ordinance Committee previously discussed and approved the new language to add school bus stops to the city’s smoking law. Ridgeway thanked the committee, too, calling the changes, “very well done, very well thought out.”

One issue that came up was what to do when the bus stop is close to a private property; the committee didn’t want to tell people they could not smoke standing in their own yards.

“Jenny came up with good language,” said Councilman Rob Nolley (R-3rd Ward), during the council’s discussion-only premeeting immediately before its regular meeting at which votes are taken.

Nolley, who chairs the Ordinance Committee, was referring to Jennifer Meltzer, the city attorney.

The school bus stop restriction says smoking is banned within 15 feet of all stops, “to the extent such place is subject to the jurisdiction of the city.”

Smoking is also banned in city parks and new language in the smoking ordinance defines a park as, “any real property which falls under the powers and duties of the Board of Parks and Recreation.”

All city parks and playgrounds, and their parking lots, are included in the restriction.

Under the ordinance, anyone violating the smoking ban may be fined no less than $50. Owners, operators and managers of a place where smoking is restricted may be fined no less than $200 for each violation.

“It’ll be complaint-driven,” said Nolley, during the council’s regular meeting, prior to the unanimous vote.

He was referring to infractions of the school bus stop restriction, but the fines apply to all locations covered by the ordinance.

Violations may be reported by way of a form available online at the city’s website at www.cityofshelbyvillein.com.

Look under the “Community” tab at the top of the city’s homepage for “Ordinances.”