St. Paul City Council approves smoking ban in certain public spaces
The St. Paul City Council gave final approval Wednesday to an ordinance that will ban smoking tobacco and cannabis in certain areas of the city.
After the vote was delayed multiple times in the past weeks, council members voted 4-3 Wednesday afternoon to pass the smoking ban, with Nelsie Yang, Russel Balenger and Mitra Jalali opposing it.
City spokesman Kamal Baker confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Mayor Melvin Carter intends to sign the ordinance into law.
“The Mayor appreciates the City Council revising the ordinance based on community feedback and looks forward to working with council members and the Saint Paul Police Department to ensure that this policy is equitably administered,” Baker wrote in a statement.
Last week, at the City Attorney’s Office’s recommendation, a severability clause was added to the proposal to protect the city against any legal challenges. The clause allows for individual sections of the ordinance to be removed if they are deemed invalid or unconstitutional, and passed the chamber by a unanimous vote.
Amendments approved the week before limited the ban to city parks and within 25 feet of entrances, exits and windows of public spaces and places of employment within the city. The change will also allow business owners and the director of St. Paul Parks and Recreation to create designated smoking areas.
The original proposal called for a ban on smoking tobacco, hemp and cannabis in all city-controlled public spaces.
Enforcement of the ordinance is set to be done through education and compliance. Anyone caught smoking in prohibited areas after their first offense could receive a citation. The penalty for violating the ordinance was originally supposed to be a petty misdemeanor.