Although today is the official first reading at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen of Ald. Lyda Krewson’s bill that would ban smoking in most public spaces, there has already been plenty of conversation about it. Over the past several days, I have heard from partisans on both sides of the issue. And we will all hear plenty more from them, because the process by which this measure will be considered will have plenty of opportunities for public discussion.
Since any bill passed by the Board of Aldermen will ultimately end up on my desk, I want to repeat my thoughts on the issue:I support a smoke-free St. Louis. It is inevitable that there will soon be new restrictions on smoke in public places in the City of St. Louis.I am taking county executive Charlie Dooley at his word that he also supports a smoking ordinance in St. Louis county.Nearly every local (as opposed to statewide) smoking law in the country is based on a compromise. The wider the area covered by the law, the fewer the compromises. A local bill (City/county, or just the City) is going to have compromises.I will not sign a bill into law that puts City businesses at a demonstrable financial disadvantage to their competitors in St. Louis county.