The city of Eagle has delayed a decision on whether to ban smoking in most establishments in town. The ordinance is the work product of several groups that are approaching various local city councils in order to pass a ban on smoking in ALL establishments. While this effort targets bars specifically, it also (by accident or by design) includes many other privately-run establishments whether or not they cater to the general public.
In my testimony to the council, I pointed out several flaws in the ordinance that need corrective action, but I also spoke about the free market implications of pasage. This was enough to help delay action. Additionally, Councilman Norm Semanko wanted to hear from actual Eagle residents. (Only one Eagle resident testified on the ordinance; everyone else was from Boise or Nampa). A decision will come in a couple of weeks.
The problems: This is a clear infringement on private property rights. It places the government firmly in the role of nanny. People need to be able to make decisions for themselves. They need the freedom to decide. And finally, this is an issue that has already been solved by the free market. People who want to go to smoking bars can do so. Those who don’t get to vote with their feet. Options abound. (Even supporter of the ban acknowledged they have plenty of non-smoking options).
Eagle residents need to contact City Hall if they want their opinions known. And because Eagle is only the first stop on this road trip, Idahoans need to monitor their local city councils and county commissions if they have an interest in this topic. This ordinance – this effort – is on the move. It’s coming, and public policy decisions are made by the people who show up.