Casper City Council Discusses Several Proposed Smoking Ban Amendments
Casper City Council discussed several possible revisions to sections of the city’s public indoor smoking ordinance at its regular work session Tuesday night.
The revised ordinance, drafted by city attorney William Luban, consists of multiple council-requested amendments that would change the overall authority and reach of the current ordinance.
The ordinance was amended to indicate that, if passed, smoking would now be permitted within Casper-based taverns, lounges, bars and private clubs. Smoking in private clubs, however, would be prohibited during public events.
Smoking would also be allowed within separate rooms of healthcare facilities and within certain sections of healthcare facilities, service establishments and work areas where public access is restricted.
The ordinance still disallows smoking in galleries, libraries, museums, bingo halls, pull-tab establishments, elevators, daycare facilities, performance halls, polling places, restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, shopping malls, schools, sports arenas, stadiums, publicly funded buildings and on public transportation.
Additionally, smoking would still be disallowed within city restaurants. This regulation would extend to Casper-based restaurant operators that hold a specific liquor license for bar-and-grill establishments.
Language was also added to the ordinance that would force so-called "smoker friendly" businesses in Casper to clearly post signs signifying to patrons that customers are allowed to smoke within the premises. Under the revised ordinance, a business that fails to warn customers about smoking within its confines could face a fine up to $750.
Casper mayor Kenyne Schlager says smoking would still be disallowed in taxi cabs that operate within city limits.
“Council basically reaffirmed some of the changes they wanted to make to the ordinance,” Schlager said. “It’s really the same discussion that we had at our last work session, but the only thing that we changed was the ability to smoke in a taxi. We’re back to where there’s no smoking in a taxi the way this is written.”
Ward I councilman Daniel Sandoval, who is against the revision process and favors a complete repeal of the ordinance, says, regardless of what council does, those who champion the ordinance will still launch a referendum effort.
“The Smokefree Natrona County people are going to take whatever we do – whether we repeal or amend – to a referendum, and, if we’re going to go to a referendum anyway, then let’s just get the whole issue about whether or not we have a smoking ban out to the voters,” Sandoval said.
The ban passed its third reading last June. Many Casper-based service and manufacturing business owners have raised concerns about productivity and revenue declines since the ban went into effect last September.