Another Ban Failed: SC Bamberg

South Carolina Bamberg Update…

Death of the Smoking Ban??
Written by Nancy C. Hiers
Human nature dictates the need for a cause of death or at least some form of explanation for the ending of an existence. The death of the proposed smoking ban for the City of Bamberg is no different.

The regularly scheduled July 13th City Council meeting was the appointed date of review and discussion for the proposed ban. There was no motion made to move forward with the process of the proposed ban, and so in political terms it is officially dead.

The ordinance was drafted and given to Council members for review, but when Mayor McCollum asked for a “motion that we do proceed with this ordinance on secondhand smoke…do we have a motion…realizing that if we don’t get a motion it will die at this time…” only an awkward silence followed.

There was however, discussion of the matter among council members after the dead silence at motion opportunity time.

Councilwoman Janeth Walker conveyed the citizen feedback in opposition to the proposed ban, citing one example of a voter who called her from vacation to remind her of the strong opposition she had against the ban. “I have been told that it is ‘too much government in government.’ As the chair of the committee I have been inundated with phone calls opposing the ban… I do believe I am not in a position to vote in favor of the ban, not considering the numerous phone calls and stops on the street…I’m concerned that this may not be something that we need to do at this time.” Walker continued, “I do believe that I have done everything that I possibly can to get it to this particular point, however with regards to your request as far as making a motion, I simply am not in a position to do that…at this time.”

Councilwoman Nancy Foster pointed out the lack of participation by citizens in favor of the ban at previous meetings.

Councilwoman Teresa Hannibal pointed out that the ordinance did “not accommodate everyone in Bamberg.” Hannibal noted that the ordinance requiring employees to smoke outside would actually endanger employees at certain Bamberg businesses, giving the example of gas stations which she is professionally associated with. “It is set up so that the people at our locations would have to put their life in danger to do something that they are already doing.”

Councilman Bo Griffin noted the additional strain on the Bamberg Police Department if required to enforce the proposed ordinance. “The devil is in the details…I don’t know that I could reasonably ask the Chief of Police for the resources and manpower and tape-measures and everything else that would be necessary to enforce it… I agree with the other council members that I don’t think this is something that we can move forward with at this time.”

“If we do not have a motion, this dies from lack of a motion” was the final reminder from Mayor McCollum. No motion was made and the death became official.

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