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Published June 23, 2010, 03:28 PM

Who's Making The Decisions?

Who should be making the decisions to ban smoking in all public places or texting while driving...city or state leaders?

Who should be making the decisions to ban smoking in all public places or texting while driving...city or state leaders?

It's butts out in Grand Forks in less than two months. City officials decided to ban all smoking in public places in town starting in August...just like city leaders did in Fargo a couple years ago, and voters in Devils Lake could soon decide as well.

Rep. Weezie Potter says, “The more entities that tackle the issue the better off we are, and to me it's all about public safety.”

The North Dakota Legislature had already banned smoking in most public places but left bars and truck stops exempt. Now some city leaders are making the decision to include those businesses.

Potter says, “I am always interested in local control. What rules and laws we think are important for Grand Forks the people in Northwood might not necessarily think that that was an important thing for them.”

Grand Forks Council Member Doug Christensen says, “It seems to be a better way to handle it at this level in our community.”

Christensen was one of the council members who helped make the decision about the ban.

“In fact today a local business man thanked us for doing that. He said it couldn't come sooner,” says Christensen.

Still Representative Potter says if other public safety issues, like texting while driving, are not addressed at the local level, state lawmakers should look at them.

“If it doesn't take place with local control, I think a broader initiative is always worthwhile.”

To see the draft of the proposed Devils Lake smoking ban, you can go to the city's website.

http://www.ci.devils-lake.nd.us/

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