Altered anti-smoking bill will get public hearing Larger establishments are targeted

April 07, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The County Council will conduct a public hearing on an anti-smoking bill that would prevent people from lighting up in businesses with more than 50 employees and would mandate nonsmoking sections in restaurants serving more than 75 patrons.

The bill has undergone a transformation since its introduction by Councilwoman Diane Evans. Her version -- a pre-emptive strike against a tougher anti-smoking measure -- would have exempted businesses, restaurants and hotels from smoking restrictions in public places.

Councilwoman Maureen Lamb wanted a law that would restrict smoking in businesses employing more than 10 people.

Last month, in a bit of legislative legerdemain, Ms. Lamb withdrew her proposal and introduced amendments to Ms. Evans' measure that affected both business and restaurants.

Ms. Lamb got unexpected help from council Chairman David G. Boschert for her successful maneuver.

Mr. Boschert opposed Ms. Lamb's bill, labeling it unfair to businesses.

As amended by Ms. Lamb, the bill would apply to businesses employing 50 people or more, but instead of merely restricting smoking in those workplaces, it would ban smoking completely.

Mr. Boschert pronounced the amended bill an acceptable compromise and pledged his support.

The business community is expected to turn out in force, led by Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano, who represents the Tobacco Institute.

The meeting was postponed from Monday night, the beginning of Passover. Mr. Bereano had objected to holding the meeting Monday because Jewish business people and lobbyists, including himself, would not be able to attend.

At first, Mr. Boschert said he could not reschedule the meeting, but he later changed his mind after other council members said they could not attend.

In other business, the council will hold a hearing on Mr. Boschert's bill that would allow zoning in the county for bed and breakfast establishments. Only Annapolis allows such establishments.

The council also will vote on a resolution to approve the appointment of seven members to the Anne Arundel Ethics Commission.

The commissioners, who serve without pay, are to start their terms May 1.

The Ethics Commission was created by a charter amendment approved by county voters in November. Previously, most ethics issues were handled by the county attorney, who is appointed by the county executive.

The commission will investigate complaints of violations of the county ethics law.

The meeting will be held in the council chambers in the Arundel Center at 7:30 p.m..

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