Garden City commissioners have reopened a debate on a citywide ordinance that went into effect in 2007 banning smoking in all public places.
A commission vote to amend a uniform public offense code, including local smoking ban policies, ended in a 2-2 stalemate during Tuesday's commission meeting following a disagreement about whether smoking should or should not be allowed in private clubs and fraternal organizations.
The city votes annually to make changes, if necessary, to a uniform public offense code instituted by the League of Kansas Municipalities based on the enactment of new state laws, according to City Attorney Randy Grisell.
The smoking ban discussion has been retriggered because the city could readopt its smoking ordinance to reflect that it is more restrictive than the state's law if it desires.
Mayor J.R. Behan and Commissioner Nancy Harness said they wanted to keep the local smoking ordinance as is while Vice Mayor John Doll and Commissioner Reynaldo Mesa cast votes reflecting their desire to make the ban less stringent, they said. Commissioner David Crase was not present at Tuesday's meeting.
Three affirming votes are required to pass a motion, according to City Clerk Stacey Frizzell.
Mesa said Tuesday he wanted to see the local ban amended to mirror a statewide smoking ban that went into effect July 1, which exempts for-profit private clubs and nonprofit fraternal organizations licensed before Jan. 1, 2009.
The citywide ordinance is more stringent, banning smoking in all establishments where alcohol is sold, including facilities belonging to the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, and the American Legion.
American Legion commanders shut down daily club operations Sunday, saying the closure was due to several economic factors that have hurt the nonprofit club that serves as a refuge for war veterans and that the city's smoking ban was partially to blame for driving some patrons away.