Hennepin County has passed a new ordinance that bans smoking on County property. A ban previously existed restricting smoking in public places, but this new ordinance includes any outdoor property—even a person sitting in their own vehicle.
The Hennepin County Board passed the new ban in a 6-1 vote last month. Specifically, the ordinance bans smoking on all property where the County is the sole tenant. Previously, smoking was banned within 45 feet of the entrance to any government building. Now even people in privately owned cars may not smoke on County property.
County Commissioner, Jeff Johnson, was the only negative vote. He argues that the ordinance goes too far and should be changed to exclude the smoking-in-your-own-car clause.
This new ban goes into effect on July 1, 2011. The law exempts people smoking while driving down County roads.
“Although I’m disappointed with my county of residence for legislating morals, I don’t think there is any constitutional basis on which to fight this statute,” says Avery Appelman. “If you decide to light up on county property, make sure you bring your checkbook—it’s going to be an expensive cigarette.”
What do you think? Does this ordinance restrict civil rights too much?