Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

Can anyone tell me what this old dollie and Peoria's idea of "enforcing" the new state-wide smoking ban have in common? Anyone?

From WEEK:
The city of Peoria turns down money from those who decide to illegally light up indoors. The City Council last night rejected a "Peoria Smoke Free Ordinance"

City smoking ban or not, Peoria will be smoke free come January first because it's state law. But, a city ordinance banning smoking would allow Peoria to collect all money from violators. Now, the city will only get half the money from a fine because it's enforcing a state law.

Not having a city ordinance to prevent people from lighting up indoors, is not a bright idea in the mind of Councilman Ryan Spain. Spain voted for the ordinance and said, "I believe by voting for the ordinance it gave us more latitude to recoup some of the revenue to enforce this smoking measure."

That's why Spain says its silly when other council members voted against the Peoria ban calling it an unfunded mandate or that it'll hurt business...because this law is already reality with the state. "I'm worried it's sending the wrong message to people in the city of Peoria and across the state in that Peoria it's ok to not follow the laws that were made and we're not going to enforce those laws as vigorously as others."

Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard already calls smoking enforcement his lowest priority. "Our plan is if a call comes in for a smoking violation, we're going to refer the caller to 1-800 number that was provided by the state and we will not dispatch a police car."

The smoking fines can be hefty, up to $2,500 for a business. And, city leaders say a local ordinance is easier to enforce. Peoria City manager Randy Oliver said, "It would work to some extent like a parking ticket violation."

So instead of paying at city hall, a violator will now pay at the county courthouse.

That's only if they get caught.


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