WILMORE — The Nicholasville City Commission, Wilmore City Council and Jessamine County Fiscal Court likely will consider a smoking ban ordinance in March, representatives said Tuesday night at a joint meeting of the government bodies.
First up will be the Nicholasville City Commission, which scheduled a March 7 workshop to discuss a proposed ordinance that would prohibit smoking in restaurants and most workplaces, but not bars or retail tobacco stores.
Jessamine County Judge-Executive Neal Cassity said the county fiscal court will consider the ordinance sometime in March. Wilmore City Council is also likely to take up the ordinance in March, Mayor Harold Rainwater said.
Elected officials with the three governments gave a cursory, 15-minute discussion to a single proposed ordinance Tuesday night at a joint meeting at the EMS West Station on U.S. 68. Few questions were asked by the officials who attended.
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Wilmore City Council member Kim Deyer asked whether the ordinance would affect the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center, a state nursing home for veterans. The proposed ordinance prohibits smoking in health care facilities, but no one could definitively answer whether or how the state-owned facility would be affected by the proposed ban.
"That's a big thing, to take away smoking from those who have defended our country," Deyer said.
Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl said each individual government would be able to amend the ordinance should it wish to do so.
Ryan Forbes, a member of the Smoke-Free Jessamine County Coalition, urged the elected officials to consider the health of employees who work in places where smoking is allowed.
"Most people accept that it is good to do (ban smoking) in restaurants and places where children will go, but often they don't think about the employees," Forbes said. "I spoke to a bartender just today that smokes, but she would rather not work around it."
Fiscal Court Magistrate George Dean said he is concerned about dictating to private business how they run a business. Dean said he is undecided how he will vote.
Wilmore City Council member Jeff Baier said he is leaning toward voting against a smoking ban there.
"It's more of a rights issue than anything else," Baier said. "That decision should be left in the hands of the owner of the business."
County Magistrate Terry Meckstroth, who chaired the committee that drafted the ordinance, said in a statement, "People are so concerned about individual rights. Those who do not smoke in a business workplace may want to choose a smoke-free environment but may be unable to do so."