South Bend Common Council to vote on smoke free ordinance - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council to vote on smoke free ordinance

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The ban aims to stop smoking in South Bend bars The ban aims to stop smoking in South Bend bars
 The South Bend Common Council will make a much anticipated vote on Monday night. Members will vote on the city's smoking ban in bars.

The original vote which was suppose to be held in May was tabled for 60 days. That time will be up on Monday as the council will gather at 7:00pm to vote.

Those in favor of the smoking ban cite health safety and second hand smoke as some of the reasons to push the bill through. Those arguing against the ban include a number of bar owners who say customers will go to nearby cities such as Mishawaka, where there is not a smoking ban in bars, resulting in loss of business and possible lay offs.

South Bend Common Council Member Derek Dieter says he is ready to hear the case for both sides. "At this point I'm still not a hundred percentage sure where I'm going to vote but I think both sides have valid points on their argument," Dieter said.

Prior to the members meeting to vote, the public is invited to voice their opinion from 5:00-6::00pm.

Common Council Member Valerie Schey was one of the co-sponsors of Bill 31-14, the smoking ban. She asked the council to be removed as a co-sponsor last week. She says she had the change of heart after speaking with 20-30 bar owners and employees.

"I have to be very sensitive to their concerns,” Schey said. “If this is not a county wide piece of legislation where everyone is on the same level playing field, it could have a very detrimental effect on the bar owners' business."

Common Council Member Gavin Ferlic is the lead sponsor for the smoking ban. He spoke with FOX28 on the phone and says there is research to show the positive effect it will have on the air quality. He also adds the research shows the economic fears the bar owners have would not come to fruition.

Dieter stressed a number of times that the debate surrounding the smoking ban is a result of the legislation targeting South Bend only. "I think if it were county wide it would be more palatable for everyone involved," Dieter said.
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