City residents may have a say in November about Tega Cay prohibiting smoking in all city owed buildings.
Resident Joe Soprano organized a petition, signed by more than 260 residents, to enact the ban earlier this year and submitted it to the Tega Cay City Council in March. Last week, the council heard from Dr. David Keely and Dr. Alan Nichols about the dangers of secondhand smoke in enclosed spaces.
However, no council members made a motion for an official public hearing to discuss a ban. Initially, the council wanted to wait for the outcome of an S.C. Supreme Court case involving a smoking ban in Greenville. Early this month, the court upheld the Greenville ban. Now, Tega Cay Mayor Bob Rude said the city want's to wait and see what happens with a bill being considered by the General Assembly that would affect local governments' ability to regulate smoking.
"We're waiting to see what that's going to be," Runde said.
However, the Municipal Association of South Carolina is advising local governments to go ahead with smoking bans based on the Greenville ordinance, according to Executive Director Howard Duvall.
"We don't think there is going to be any more smoking legislation this year," Duvall said.
The S.C. Senate had already passed a bill that would have preempted local governments on the smoking ban issue, but that bill has been sent back to a House subcommittee and Duvall said it is likely dead for this legislative year.
"The prime mover of that bill said he won't try to move it anymore this year," Duvall said.
MASC plans to post a model smoking ban ordinance on it's Web site, www.masc.sc, in the coming days. As many as 18 cities across the state may consider some type of ban this year, Duvall said.
Along with the petition, Soprano asked the city council, should it not enact a ban on its own, to put the smoking ban to the people through a ballot referendum in November.
City residents will already be considering whether to let retail businesses sell beer and wine to customers on Sundays in one referendum.
"It hasn't been discussed yet," Runde said. "Of course it could come up [at the next meeting]."
Currently, smoking is only allowed in one section of one city-owned building - the bar at the Tega Cay Golf Club. Smoking is prohibited in all other city owned buildings, including the new Philip T. Glennon Community Center.