1:38 PM, Mar 25, 2008
On April 8th, a tiny portion of the people in Kansas City, the people that vote, are going to overwhelmingly approve a citywide ban on smoking in restaurants, bars, and wherever else is specified in the ballot literature. This ban, once enacted, would make Kansas City one of the last
major cities in the United States to ban smoking. I'm dead against it, as I see it as a grievous abuse of freedom, but I've accepted that it hasn't a snowball's chance in Hell of failing. The ballot language follows:
Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit smoking in enclosed places of employment, enclosed public places and on public sidewalks abutting acute care hospitals, while allowing it in casino gaming areas until all casinos located in the Missouri counties of Jackson, Platte and Clay, and the Kansas counties of Johnson and Wyandotte are obligated by ordinance, statute or law to prohibit smoking within the casino areas where gambling games are allowed, as set forth in Ordinance No. 080073, for the purpose of promoting public health by decreasing citizen's exposure to secondhand smoke and creating smoke free environments for workers and citizens through regulation in the work place and all public places?
It doesn't say anything about a timetable, so on its passage I'd guess one of two things will happen. I also am fairly certain of which of these two things will happen.
- The law will go into effect immediately and Kansas City will go smoke-free right away.
- The law, due to its intentionally vague language and lack of explicit timeframes, will be cut to pieces and forgotten within months.
I think the latter possibility, given Kansas City's track record for enforcing laws that might make any potential taxpayer angry, is more likely. But, the possibility of the city actually going smoke-free is a real one, meaning that in the area only a handful of towns would still allow it. On the Kansas side, only Shawnee and KCK would still allow it, and on the Missouri side only Raytown, Liberty, Grandview, Belton, Parkville, and a smattering of two-block towns cradled between larger ones would still allow smoking in whatever few bars they have, before the states of Kansas and Missouri bring up the national rear in enacting statewide bans.
Anyway, I just think the whole thing is interesting.