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Voters to Consider Two Smoking Bans

By Steve Bell and Frank Morris

KANSAS CITY, MO – The Kansas City, Missouri City Council has approved an amended version of a smoking ban initiative for an April public vote. If the group that collected the petition signatures doesn't approve the changes, both versions will be on the ballot.

Councilman Ed Ford says he led the movement to alter the proposal because he thinks the petition-drive version was illogical and unfair to small businesses. "The committee of petitioners decided to cut their own deal with the casinos, to exclude the Truman Sports Complex where 60 percent of the committee of petitioners draw paychecks, but put the entire smoking ban burden on the mom-and-pop bars and restaurants of our city," Ford says.

The original measure banned smoking in all bars, restaurants and tobacco shops but allowed it on casino gambling floors. The council version allows smoking in bars and tobacco shops but bans it at the stadium.

But, Councilwoman Beth Gottstein says the amended version was in fact, an attempt to undermine the one generated by citizen petition. Gottstein says,"We were not trying to ban smoking, we were simply trying to let voters make the decision. But by having two, it does dilute the message and the effort. And I think that was intended. Politics over people."

If both versions pass, the one with the most votes will go into effect.

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