Smoking Ban Here to Stay

9 years 6 months 1 week ago November 14, 2007 Nov 14, 2007 Wednesday, November 14 2007 Wednesday, November 14, 2007 9:33:32 AM CST in News
But don't get too excited smokers, the clerk rejected the petition.

The petition required about 2,600 signatures, and while 3,000 people signed, the City Clerk declared more than half the signatures invalid.

The reason behind the invalid autographs is that half the signers are not registered to vote in Columbia.

Becky Reynolds, who owns the Columbia bar Cody's, thinks it's unfair. "I live outside the city limits of Columbia, so I can't register to vote in the city of Columbia, so I have absolutely no control over what I do with my business as it concerns to this because they won't let me vote or let me have a say in it."

Petitioners want another vote on removing the ban.

Mayor Darwin Hindman says those who oppose the ban still have time.  "They have ten days from the date that it was certified in order to get those signatures."

However, Joel Thiel, owner of Otto's Bar and Grill, said in a phone interview the petitioners are done looking for signatures.

Instead, he hopes other businesses, like Cody's, will join him and plead with City Council to put the issue on April's ballot, a situation the mayor calls unlikely.

"If the people want to have an election, they need to go through the proper process. And if they're unsuccessful in going through the proper process, I don't think it's up to the council to put it on the ballot," says Mayor Hindman.

The deadline for gathering signatures for the petition is November 19.

Reported by Phil Rapisardo

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