State Senator To Introduce Bill To Invalidate Anti-Smoking Ordinances
(LOUISVILLE, August 25th, 2003, 6 p.m.) -- WAVE 3 News has learned of plans that would make it illegal to ban smoking in Kentucky. State Senator Dan Seum plans to introduce a bill in Frankfort that would prevent any locality in the state from enforcing a
The State Senate doesn't convene until January, but Seum is meeting with legislative staffers next week to begin drafting a bill that, if approved by the state government, would make any ban passed in Louisville invalid.
"As adults, we can make the decision about what restaurant we want to walk in and what one we don't," Seum said.
Before running for office, Republican State Senator Dan Seum ran a restaurant. Now he is trying to prevent government from telling businesses, including restaurants, what to do.
"I'm an adult," Seum said. "Most of my patrons are adults, and we can make this decision without any government interference.
Ironically, Seum's using government to achieve his goal. He plans to pre-file a bill with the State Senate, prohibiting cities or counties from enforcing a smoking ban. It would invalidate Lexington's ban and could pre-empt one in Louisville.
Smoke-Free Louisville says the proposal is exactly what the tobacco industry wants. "They would rather fight these battles on the state level," says Julie Brackett. "They (tobacco companies) don't want to have to go into each community to fight the battles."
University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcusson says the state has the power to override local laws. Localities are an instrument of the state," he says, "and the state decides what powers to give them, if any, and can revoke them as the state chooses."
Seum will begin drafting the bill next week, and Smoke-Free Louisville is preparing to fight it. Like Seum, they talk about rights too -- in their case, the right of local government to act on its own.