Knightyme is latest bar to close since Springfield smoking ban
A supplier of pool tables and juke boxes says 10 bars have closed since Springfieldians banned smoking in them.
by Linda Russell, KY3 News
Springfield Bar Closing After Smoking Ban ‘Cut 80 Percent of Sales’
Nov. 21st, 2011
(Springfield, MO) — Ray Hassen has owned Ray’s Lounge for the last 15 years, but this year will be his last.
The bar at 1221 E Saint Louis Street will be closing after the end of the year.
“December 31 is my last night. I’m not going to renew my 2012 license,” says Hassen. “We’re going to have a big party and hopefully I can get rid of all my beer and liquor and close the door.”
He says right after the citywide smoking ban went into effect, his business was cut by 80 percent.
“I felt it immediately, even though I have a patio for the smokers.”
He says he’d planned on keeping his doors open for another two years, but this hurried it up a bit.
“I felt it, and I’m sure everybody else in the bar business felt it, too.? Now, instead of coming to the bar and drinking and smoking, people are going to Dillon’s and Price Cutter and getting their beer and going home and siting in their chair and smoking at home and drinking beer.”
Hassen says sales tax numbers over the past few months may have been high, but he worries that might have been misleading.
“Everybody knows that school starts. Everything is — people’s buying. So naturally sales tax is up ten percent. Why didn’t she call and get the sales tax results from the bars? That tells the story.”
Anti-smoking activists won’t stop with partial bans
By Theodore J. King
In 2003, Springfield, Missouri banned smoking in restaurants. But the mayor of Springfield, Jim O’Neal, wasn’t satisfied, and in the spring of 2010 he pushed the city council to ban smoking elsewhere. Some members of the city council thought the ban that he proposed went too far — i.e., banning smoking from the American Legion halls, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) halls, and tobacco shops. So, O’Neal decided that rather than presenting the proposal to the city council, he’d present it directly to the people. The proposal appeared on the ballot in April of this year as Question 2:
Shall the City of Springfield, Missouri prohibit smoking in enclosed public places, places of employment, private clubs, within five feet of outdoor playgrounds and within five feet of outside entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited, and exempt the following places from smoking prohibition: a) private residences, unless such residence is used as a child care, adult day care, or healthcare facility; b) not more than 25 percent of the hotel or motel rooms rented to guests as smoking rooms; and c) outdoor areas of places of employment; providing for the imposition of a fine of $50 per violation for any person violating said ordinance by smoking, upon a finding of guilt or admission of guilt; upon a finding of guilt or admission of guilt, providing for fines ranging from $100-$500 per day against the owner, operator, manager or any agent who controls a public place or place of employment or any business, and allows smoking to occur on the premises; providing for revocation of any license or permit issue to the business or public place that permits such violations; requiring that businesses and public places place signage advising of the prohibition on smoking?
Supporters of the ban outspent opponents by a 5-1 margin, and Question 2 passed with 53% of the vote. A temporary injunction was issued but did not become a permanent injunction. So, smoking is now banned virtually everywhere in Springfield, Missouri, except in some private residences and in a few hotel and motel rooms.
When there is a violation of Question 2 provisions, the violator, depending on the particular violation, may have to pay a fine of $50 or more (up to $500 a day). What’s worse is that the city has the ability to revoke the business licenses of companies that violate the ban — preventing business owners from making a living. Yes, Springfield has the power to put a business owner out of business for permitting the smoking of a legal, heavily taxed product in his place of business.
As justification for the city-wide ban, Clean-Air Springfield, an advocacy group behind it, produced this statement:
The U.S. Surgeon General has stated that “there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke.” It’s a proven cause of serious health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease and asthma — even in non-smokers.
The statement is not true. In my book, The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State, I report the truth: that second-hand smoke is not harmful, except to those with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unless a person is exposed to an intense amount of smoke over a very long period of time, like 30 years.
I’ve noted that a temporary injunction was issued. It happened in a court challenge against the new law that was filed by a Springfield bar owner who argued that the ban violated a 1992 Missouri state law regarding indoor smoking. The court refused to continue the injunction, and a comment was posted on a Springfield newspaper’s website asking if children might be banned from restaurants next. A Springfield bully replied with this comment:
Were you banned when you were a kid? No, well you’re banned now so get over it. We’ll all love you smokers coughing your lungs up at home, or in Branson now, LMAO! Scoiety [sic] barely showed up to vote on the ban yet enough showed up that kept you smelly clowns from stinking up the town. Good riddance loser!
The person who posted that comment must view those veterans in the Springfield American Legion and VFW halls who fought to keep this country free as losers.
This ban is NOT about health. It’s about control. Remember, the 2003 law banned smoking everywhere in the city except private residences, private clubs, stand-alone bars, and tobacco shops.
The anti-smoking movement may have begun with a genuine concern for public health, but it has degenerated into a diatribe based on a lust for power, a desire to totally control the lives of others. For those who hate smoking, partial bans are not enough.
I wonder if Clean-Air Springfield’s supporters are going to flock to Springfield’s stand-alone bars, tobacco shops, and private clubs now that they are “smoke free.” Probably not.
Theodore J. King is the author of the book The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books a Million. He has been a columnist for the conservative quarterly The Oklahoma Constitution newspaper since 2000.
One Air Alliance now plans initiative petition to put issue before voters.
June 29, 2010
City Council’s meeting was cut short Monday — and a controversial smoking ban abruptly dismissed — after advocates withdrew their support following a series of amendments they said watered down the proposal.
Representatives of local advocacy group One Air Alliance said they will now seek to place the issue before voters through an initiative petition.
The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Jim O’Neal and Councilmembers Dan Chiles, John Rush and Cindy Rushefsky, would have replaced current city restrictions on smoking with a more all-encompassing one on smoking in workplaces and buildings open to the public, as well as some outdoor areas.
Only private residences and designated hotel rooms would have been exempt. Bars and restaurants, 63 of which currently make use of exemptions in the current law, would have been able to allow smoking only on outdoor patios or sidewalk cafes.
O’Neal offered two amendments before the public comment period began Monday. One, he said, corrected an inadvertent change that would have banned smoking in private homes where meetings are held.
The other would have created an exception for tobacco shops, as long as their primary business was the blending and sale of tobacco products and they were not located in another establishment such as a bar or restaurant.
Both changes easily passed. Then Councilman Nick Ibarra, taking issue with a clause calling for the ordinance to be “liberally construed” in favor of prohibition, moved that the language be struck from the bill.
That change also was approved (with all of the sponsors but Chiles voting against). After a few more questions, Ibarra offered another amendment, this time adding an exemption for a string of fraternal and veterans organizations as well as bingo halls.
Ibarra said that, if the city was going to infringe on the liberties of any residents, “I would ask that we not do it for the people who protect those liberties,” drawing applause from part of the standing-room-only crowd.
O’Neal, calling for order, argued against the exemption, saying it went against the intent of the bill to protect the health of workers, primarily in the service industry.