February 9, 2018-
The places where smoking is permitted in the city could soon change if a new state bill passes that puts smoking policies in the control of local governments. The Local Option Bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, would repeal the tobacco preemption clause, which says that state law trumps local laws pertaining to where smoking is prohibited. The new bill would allow municipal governments to create their own policies to regulate smoking in certain areas.
Those areas include hotels, parks, public property, age-restricted venues, and private clubs, according to the bill. Currently in Memphis, per city ordinance, smoking is only illegal in public elevators, on city buses, in retail stores, at the Mid-South Coliseum, the Cook Convention Center, as well as any theater, hall, hotel, or public building “that smoking is dangerous.” “As written today, the state law is ignoring the will of the people in local communities who desire smoke-free air,” Bob Ramsey, chairman of the State Government Committee, said.