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June 06, 2011

Anderson Independent: Proposed smoking ban in Pendleton draws passion on both sides

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Lake Morris Special to Independent Mail

PENDLETON — The Pendleton town council revisited a proposed smoking ordinance Monday night, drawing passionate responses from people who favor and oppose it .

The proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking in enclosed, town-owned buildings, all town-owned vehicles and public places such as the town square. Smoking would not be prohibited in private residences, hotel and motel rooms, businesses where 50 percent of the revenue is from tobacco sales, religious ceremonies and private clubs.

The council revisited the proposed smoking ordinance Monday because it had not given the public appropriate legal notice when the regulation was discussed last month. Mayor Randy Hayes said the town was “just under” the required 15-day notice for council meetings when the proposed ordinance was discussed in May.

On Monday night, the nearly full chamber got passionate about the smoking debate, with scattered applause and strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Opposition to the draft of the smoking ordinance was more prevalent Monday night than it had been at the previous meeting.

Bruce Kalley, Ward 1 representative, was happy with the heavy, passionate turnout.

“I like to see folks come out,” Kalley said. “I wish we had crowds like this for our normal business.”

Of the 14 speakers, six were opposed while eight were in favor of the current draft of the ordinance.

“I think it is flat-out discriminatory in a town this size,” Teresa Hopkins said.

Interim administrator Amber Barnes said town leaders expected the large turnout.

“We kind of knew the people opposed to the ordinance would be out,” she said. “And that is good. It makes our job easier when residents come out and voice their concerns now, instead of when decisions get made, and then we hear complaints.”

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