Many expected the Owensboro City Commission to vote on the proposed smoking ban Tuesday, but instead, commissioners introduced another amendment. Commissioners previously amended the ordinance to exclude e-cigarettes. The latest amendment exempts existing bars from the ban. Mayor Ron Payne calls the exemption a "compromise."
"This takes care of those bars that have been operating for a long time this way and their concern that it would affect their business. So I feel like it's a good compromise and all the commission feels comfortable with this," said Payne, adding that he expects the ordinance to receive unanimous approval from the commission next month.
The smoking ban is a necessary part of protecting public health, said Payne. But for him, the fight is also personal. "I have three younger brothers that are no longer here and they all died from the effects of smoking, So we owe it to the community, we owe it to the next generation of young people to do everything that we can to ensure that we have a safe environment here in this community."
The City Commission is slated to vote on the smoking ordinance September 2.