Smoke Free Parks On Hold

Smoke free plicy inthe parks goes up in smoke in Plattsmouth. The city councilman who turned discussion toward the rights of smokers later asked that the policy proposal be kept “on the table.”

The Cassgram reports members of Tobacco Free Cass County approached the Plattsmouth City Council on April 16th asking for a policy, resolution, law or ordinance for a smoke-free environment at Rhylander Park. At that meeting, the council decided to pursue a policy—a policy does not mandate police enforcement and only asks for voluntary compliance—and have that policy extend to all city parks. The vote on bringing such a directive back before council passed 8-0 on the 16th. (Archives 4/19)

The resolution for a policy was before council for consideration this week. The proposal stated, “to the extent possible, that all Plattsmouth public parks will be smoke-free.” The policy mentioned the dangers of secondhand smoke and the littering caused by the remains of tobacco products.

Councilman Steve Riese said council members should also take into account “the rights of smokers as well.” He wondered if there could be designated smoking areas implemented into the policy and that he’d like to talk about the policy more. Councilmen Terry Kerns said he agreed with Riese, noting that “it is not an illegal activity” for adults and that the parks are the outdoors.

The first three votes—John Porter, Kerns, Jeanie Brookhouser—were all ‘yes’ for the policy. But the next five—Terry D. Tilson, Riese, Pat Dugan, Art Tesarek and Doug Derby—were against implementing the policy.

Later, during roundtable discussion before the close of the meeting, Riese said he hopes the council will work on the smoke free policy more and revisit it. City Administrator Erv Portis urged council members to convey their thoughts to him on what they’d like to see in the policy.

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