UPDATE: Mishawaka and St. Joseph County Council presidents willi - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council President invites other Council Presidents to smoke free air presentation

UPDATE: Mishawaka and St. Joseph County Council presidents willing to meet with SB Council to coordinate smoking policy

County-wide expanded smoking regulations, that's what South Bend Common Council President Oliver Davis is after.  Last month the city announced a new proposal to ban smoking in all workplaces in South Bend.  Now  Davis wants St. Joseph County and Mishawaka to consider the same thing.

Thursday he sent a letter to the Council Presidents of both jurisdictions. 

"We need to, as we address this issue make sure that our regulations in place does not pit one city against the other city or one area versus the county," said Davis.  He said losing business is his major concern with the currently proposed South Bend smoking ban.  "Currently if this were to pass in the City of South Bend, several of the businesses have contacted me saying they would be hurt."

Davis points to two such businesses, Jeannie's Tavern and Sons of the American Legion Post 357. 

Gary Weese with Jeannie's Tavern said, "It puts us at an unfair disadvantage.  People who would like to smoke could very easily migrate to bars outside the city."  And Don Ruszkowski with Sons of American Legion 357 said, "We did a renovation last month, the prior week to that renovation we made over 6,000 dollars.  The week of the renovation we went to no smoking in our big hall, we made just barely over 3,000 dollars."

That's why Davis sent a letter Thursday to the presidents of the Mishawaka Common Council and the St. Joseph County Council, asking them to come to South Bend's next meeting.  He hopes they'll be there to give their input on the smoking ban and further hopes it will lead to a coalition to look at legislation for the entire County.  "Something we can put in place that will meet the needs of all the citizens in our area that will again promote health and at the same time promote business."

Mishawaka Council President Matt Mammolenti told us Thursday afternoon that he hadn't seen the letter from Davis yet but if his schedule allows he'd be more than willing to attend the meeting.

St. Joseph County Council President Rafael Morton said he met with Davis on Thursday and agrees that it makes sense to coordinate smoking policies between the county and the city. He plans to be in attendance Monday night.

At Monday's South Bend Council meeting there will be a presentation about the city's proposed smoke free air regulations and a public hearing about it.  Davis said then they'll decide either to vote on the city wide smoking ban or to give it more time for consideration and collaboration with the other nearby jurisdictions.

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