Laredo (TX) Passes Smokefree Workplace Law
Law will take effect in 90 days
Laredo (TX), 4/8/06-- The Laredo (TX) City Council voted 5-3 to clear the air in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. In addition, smoking will not be allowed within 10 feet of building entrances.
Councilman Alfredo Agredano explained that the Council's main goal was not to prevent people from hurting themselves. "What we're trying to do is protect people who don't smoke," Agredano said.
Ana Soto said she applauded the council's actions. "There are two things I've learned in life that will shake your priorities - having children and having a family member diagnosed with cancer," Soto said.
Councilman John Galo said this decision has been the hardest one he's had to make since taking office eight years ago. He said he battled between infringing on the rights of the smokers and public health. "At the end of the day, I had to side with public health," Galo said. Galo added that the only way he supported the ordinance was all or nothing - and that means bars are included.
Councilman Johnny Rendon, a former firefighter, said that after 26 years of keeping the public safe, he wasn't finished. "I will continue as long as I have this power to keep people safer," Rendon said.
"If I had the chance to vote, I think that y'all know that I would vote first to protect my grandson and the residents of Laredo," said Mayor Betty Flores, who only votes when there is a tie.
Jose Luis Muñoz, the only non-restaurant or bar owner to speak against the ordinance, said not only is he a smoker, but he's been fighting cancer for five years. "I know I'm dying. I know my time is short," Muñoz said. "But I'm going to smoke it out. If I want to smoke, that's my privilege."