GF Smoking Ban May Not Be Put To Public VoteThe city council tonight took another step toward a totally smoke-free Grand Forks.
The council tonight took another step toward a totally smoke-free Grand Forks. The Council had a work session and heard from people on both sides of the issue. After listening to both sides of the smoking ban, council members at tonight's work session recommended the ordinance be sent straight to the council on Monday.
Tonight there was a full house as people came out to express their opinion on Grand Forks' proposed smoking ban.
Mike McMenamy/Against Smoking Ban: "We would like to see it go to a city vote rather than leave it in the hands of the seven council members. We believe we would get a better representation of how the city really feels."
Kobe Paul/Against Smoking Ban: "What this is doing is taking away my freedom of choice. I'm not a smoker, I don't like second hand smoke. I know that it is harmful if I choose to go to a bar I know what I am getting into.
Many bar owners tonight came and told the council how the smoking ban will negatively affect their business if the ban goes into effect. But not all council members agree.
Doug Christensen/Grand Forks City Council: "We see when there is no smoking across the river and selected venues in the community. I'm not so sure that the argument that I am going to lose business or your going to effect my business or I'm going to become shuttered is as strong as it was."
Council members at the work session looked over the proposed ordinance and made minor changes. Smoke shops and other tobacco-driven sales businesses like the Hooka Lounge would be grandfathered into the ordinance. But bars and restaurants would still be included in the ban. The council members are sending the revised ordinance to the council's meeting on Monday, with the thought that for now, they will decide the ordinance, not a public vote.
Eric Johnson/For Smoking Ban: "The laws are there not to protect smokers from themselves, these laws are solely aimed at diminishing medical harm to other parties."
Josh Gilleland/Against Smoking Ban: "I got two buildings that can hold 400 people a piece lets say 20 percent of my patrons smoke inside the bar you got 150 people at a time that can be on the side walks is that something we really want."
The council will vote on Monday whether to put the smoking ban to a public vote or if they will decide themselves. Either way, if a smoking ban is passed it will not take effect until November 1.