Voters To Decide On City Smoking Ban

The Amarillo City Commission unanimously decided to put the fate of a city-wide smoking ban into the hands of voters.
Today commissioners patiently listened as their regularly scheduled meeting turned in a public hearing for a proposed ordinance to ban smoking in most public places. The petioners "Breathe Easy Amarillo" requested commissioners let the voters decide.

"Well this is a large issue, it's probably the largest issue that Amarillo will face. So rather than put it in the hands of a few commissioners and a mayor, we want the entire population to speak because it's a louder voice." said Breathe Easy Chair, Ken Cargyle.

But, organized opposition to the proposed public smoking ban is now forming around Amarillo.  "Speak Out Amarillo" is re-forming to tell Amarillo voters again why the public smoking ban is not for them.

"To get the word out again to let people know how intrusive this ordinance is." said Speak Out Chair, Scott Camarata.

But before the ballot gets into the hands of voters, the commission wanted one thing clarified. 

"This one that came up today we will have to address with them and see how they will want to put it on the ballot, but it is their petition and they will be the ones to make the decision if they want to see it changed." said Amarillo Mayor, Debra McCartt.

Meanwhile Speak out Amarillo says they will be educating the public about the pitfalls to this ban and expect the same results as last time. 

"People in Amarillo are smart, they're even smarter three years later. It's the same issue, it's still the same reduction of choices in our lives."

The public smoking ban will be on the May 10, 2008 ballot.  If you would like to read the proposed ordinance visit