Columbus smoking ordinance vote delayed 60 days

Columbus smoking ordinance vote delayed 60 days
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The idea to make the Columbus a smoke-free city is delayed for at least two more months.

Columbus city leaders decided to halt the controversial vote at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

A little more time, that's what council members are requesting before they vote on the proposed smoking ordinance ban.

The ban would prohibit smoking in all workplaces and public places. The organization, called 'Breath Easy' is responsible for drafting the new ordinance.

They first presented the idea to the council in February. The organization says they want patrons and workers to enjoy working, eating, and getting entertained in a smoke-free environment.

It has been received, but not without a lot of criticism from people in the community. That reasoning playing a major role in the board deciding to stop the advancement of this vote, for now.

"Trying to compare what is being said, and I'm a little bit uncomfortable on which way I'm going," said Council member Mimi Woodson.

Like Council member Woodson, one by one, council members shared their concerns on the passing of this controversial law. Citing lack of knowledge, enforcement issues, and confusion on the language in the ordinance.

"I think there is no doubt that we have taken a great step with smoking in public buildings, I think it's time to see if we can take another step forward with this, but I think it's not going to be a quick fix," said Council member Skip Henderson.

Instead, looking for a relative compromise. One that those in support of the cause are not as willing to back up.

"People want to see this happen," said one concerned citizen.

Emotional testimonies shared by those in attendance as they once again presented the board with their reasons for this new smoking ordinance.

"This ordinance that we are talking about is our culmination of 4 years to get to this point, and obviously we have more work to do," Breath Easy Advocate, Perry Alexander.

The vote now delayed 60 days as the council now searches for a middle ground for all to enjoy.

"Just because we are delaying it 60 days, doesn't mean it's gone," said Council Member Judy Thomas.

Council members will take the next two months to review and revise the previous smoking ordinance.

A vote is expected once the ordinance is believed to be a satisfactory and able-working project.

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