Before vote, Ulman seeks a change in smoking bill

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

December 04, 2005|By LAURA CADIZ | LAURA CADIZ,SUN REPORTER

Ulman wants amendment to smoking bill Aproposed smoking ban in restaurants and bars in Howard County is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow night by the County Council.

Councilman Ken Ulman, a co-sponsor of the bill, wants to slightly change the bill and is proposing an amendment that would take out any language regarding smoking in home-based businesses. Ulman said the state regulates smoking in private homes that are used as businesses.

"I want the issue to be squarely focused on the workplace and not the home," said Ulman, a west Columbia Democrat running for county executive.

Should the bill, by County Executive James N. Robey, be successful, Howard would join Prince George's, Montgomery and Talbot counties as no-smoking jurisdictions.

However, the bill is opposed by three of the five councilmen, who sympathize with business owners who fear a smoking ban would harm their businesses.

Ellicott City Republican Councilman Christopher J. Merdon, a candidate for county executive, Councilman David A. Rakes, an east Columbia Democrat, and western county Republican Councilman Charles C. Feaga do not support the bill, setting it up to fail.

That majority supports a bill that Rakes has submitted that aims to ban smoking in new establishments but allow it to continue in current businesses until ownership changes. This would grandfather in 69 businesses where smoking is allowed.

That bill could come to the council for a vote next month.

Tomorrow's council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City.

Council race

County Planning Board member Jennifer Terrasa has formally entered the race for the District 3 County Council seat that Chairman Guy Guzzone will vacate when he runs for the House of Delegates next year.

Terrasa, 36, a Democrat from Columbia's Kings Contrivance village, graduated from Oakland Mills High School and also serves on the Kings Contrivance Village Board.

"I see this as a real good opportunity for me to be able to serve the county at a broader level," said Terrasa, who announced Tuesday that she would run for the seat. "To me, it's a continuation of what I do."

The mother of three children - ages 2, 4 and 6 - Terrasa teaches legal writing part time at the University of Baltimore School of Law and helped staff the family-law hot line for several years at the Women's Law Center of Maryland in Towson.

Republican Donna Thewes, 46, a community activist from North Laurel, also is running for the seat.

She has been a substitute county teacher, a PTA president at two schools and a police-community liaison worker.

laura.cadiz@baltsun.com

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