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March 10, 2011

SC Now: Florence smoking ordinance vote may be delayed

Link to original article.

By John Sweeney

FLORENCE, SC — Just when you thought debate on a possible smoking ordinance for the city of Florence was nearing its end, the issue may be headed for more debate.

Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Room 604 of the Florence City-County Complex to discuss the proposed ordinance.

Councilman Glynn F. Willis said the meeting would primarily focus on pushing back first reading on the smoking ordinance from Monday to council’s meeting in April.

Willis said pushing the meeting back a month would ensure all council members are present for first reading. Councilman Ed Robinson announced last week he would not attend Monday’s 14 council meeting because of a conference on city-related business.

Willis also said two amendments to the smoking ordinance he and Councilman Buddy Brand submitted to the city attorney earlier this week won’t be presented at Friday’s meeting.

“I don’t think that’s proper to do that,” he said. “I think it needs to be introduced in front of the people and not at any (special) called meeting.”

The two amendments would give business owners the option to establish indoor smoking areas for their employees and also allow employees to smoke in warehouse and work shop type areas with outside fan ventilation so long as the smoke does not drift regular work or public areas.

Those amendments were greeted with criticism by Councilmember Octavia Williams-Blake earlier this week, who said the move was an attempt by council members to avoid making a difficult decision.

Attempts Wednesday to contact council members Robinson and Williams-Blake were unsuccessful.

The smoking ordinance has been a hot topic in Florence during the past several months. The ordinance was introduced in February and the first public hearing on it March 3.

Smoking ordinances have been proposed in Florence before, most recently in November 2009 when the measure failed by one vote.

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