Once again, the state’s Smoking Nannies will be trying to convince lawmakers to absorb precious time during this year’s short 30-day session considering legislation that would implement a government-mandated smoking ban on all private property in Kentucky.
There are many problems with such a policy – not the least of which it tramples on local communities who already have already thoroughly debated the issue and made their own smoking-ban decisions.
Some, including Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort and Bowling Green, have decided to ban smoking in all public – including privately-owned – places. While we oppose, on principle, such bans, we would also vehemently resist attempts by state government to override those decisions with some centralized, top-down law.
It’s easier for voters to hold local officials accountable – including at the ballot box – than for them to fight some far-away Frankfort rule.
A previously implemented ban in Campbell County was, for example, overturned after voters threw out magistrates who had supported and passed a ban. Also, the Liberty City Council in December decided to rescind its month-old smoking ban. Several communities have completed rescinded previously passed bans or they have approved bans that contain a bit more common sense, such as exempting bars from such big-government mandates.
The nannies are trying to convince Frankfort to overrule local communities’ authority to determine whether or not to implement a smoking ban – all because some of those communities have refused to tow the nannies’ line on the issue. They don’t agree with some of these local decisions so — like the Obama administration — they keep using the tools of force and intimidation at their disposal in an attempt to fundamentally change Kentucky’s policies.
Even some Senate Republicans like Sens. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville and Ralph Alvarado of Winchester have jumped on the smoking nannies’ bandwagon.
In a recent op-ed on the issue, Alvarado sounds like a liberal Democrat, with whom he shares an affinity for the same ideology on this issue. This Nanny-State ideology is also a favorite of the Lexington Herald-Leader editorial page, which carried Alvarado’s recent op-ed scolding us free-market types for defending private-property rights and individual liberties.
Dr. Alvarado’s diagnosis couldn’t be more wrong.
Even a smoking nanny-friendly website listing here of just the restaurants in just three northern Kentucky counties who have voluntarily gone smoke-free without government mandates indicates that we don’t need Frankfort bullying local communities on this issue.