New Albany's mayor to veto smoking ban - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Albany's mayor to veto smoking ban

New Albany's mayor says he'll veto the smoking ban recently approved by the city council.  But Doug England is also proposing an amended ordinance.  He read a statement Tuesday but did not take any questions from reporters.

It was less than two weeks ago that the New Albany City Council approved a smoking ban by a narrow 5-4 vote.  It would have banned smoking in just about all public places.

The mayor is now proposing an amended ordinance that would exempt bars, private clubs, and restaurants with bars whose workers are 21 or older.  He said Tuesday, "This is not as black and white as activists on either side of the issue would have you believe.  I believe my proposal strikes a compromise."

So this hot potato issue is now back in the hands of the council.  Councilwoman Diane Benedetti says, "We did not want this back on our plate, us council members have talked about this night after night, day after day."

Some council members say they have been working on an acceptable smoking ban for years, and believe it's time to focus on other issues.  Councilman Dan Coffey complained, "If we don't have a mayor who's willing to work with us, willing to talk to us, and then to come out and say we're trying to divide the community, I take a real offense to that."

The issue is a divisive one, with both sides on hand for the mayor's decision.  Jazz musician Jamey Aebersold thought the mayor should have signed the ordinance:  "I stopped playing in these places about 20 years ago because of the smoke, I just could not stand it anymore, so maybe that's why I'm still alive, I don't know."

But Trish Meyer, who just opened a restaurant and bar in downtown New Albany, says smokers and non-smokers can get along without government intervention.  "Most restaurants in this town have smoking and non-smoking sites, and they are very clear about trying to protect other people."

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