For Immediate Release Friday, March 16, 2012

Smoke-free Supporters Offer Route to Compromise
Groups Also Reaffirm Legal Opinion Regarding Unanimous Vote of Council
SPRINGFIELD – The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung
Association, and One Air Alliance have been working on the smoke-free issue in Springfield for years, committing our resources to achieving a comprehensive ordinance that protects workers and preserves the right of all people to breathe clean indoor air in public venues. Those efforts were validated by voters at the polls last April, as a majority of Springfield voters turned out to show their support for public health. After participating in City Council’s public hearing on Monday evening regarding the status of the smoke-free ordinance, our groups were surprised to learn on Tuesday of council’s intention to move forward with a workshop on March 22 and carve out exemptions for a number of entities. This unexpected process could result in new language that completely undermines the will of voters and the rights of workers. We want to ensure that the voices of voters are respected, employee health is protected, and public health organizations are not excluded from this process. Therefore, in an attached letter to Mayor Jim O’Neal and copied to each member of city council, we have proposed a route to compromise. To allow a compromise to move forward, we are asking Live Free Springfield to withdraw its repeal petition. Once that occurs, the following amendments could then be carved out from the current voter-approved smoke-free ordinance using the provided language attached to this letter. These amendments would need to be approved with a unanimous vote of the council, as outlined in the city charter: • • • The removal of current language pertaining to e-cigarettes, which also allows theater groups additional options for on-stage performances. New exemption for private clubs, when not open to the public, and that have no employees present. (Please see the attached definition language.) New exemption for retail tobacco shops with a minimum of 70% of tobacco-related sales. (Please see the attached definition language.)

Our groups stand by the previously-stated legal opinion that the city charter protects voter-approved ordinances from amendment or repeal by the council with anything less than a unanimous vote. Should City Council move forward on approving amendments or fully repealing the current law without that unanimous vote, we reserve the right to pursue immediate legal action. Ultimately, if a compromise cannot be reached, we remain united in asking City Council to return this issue to the voters, where it originated, so that their will can be expressed again.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Hall Cell: 417.551.1645