St. Louis County Council Gives Preliminary Approval to a Weakened Smoking Ban

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The St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 last night to move forward on a bill that would ask residents to vote on a smoking ban on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The bill exempts casinos from the ban as well as taverns that generate more than 75 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales. Those exemptions would be rescinded, though, if the state or St. Louis City passes a tougher smoking ban that prohibits tobacco use in those facilities.

The council must cast a final vote in favor of the bill on August 18 before the proposal would go before voters.

As it stands now, the bill faces a possible veto threat from County Executive Charlie Dooley, who voted against a similar smoking-ban ordinance in 2006 and has said he favors a state-wide ban. Council members in support of the ban would need one more vote (for a total of 5) to override a veto from Dooley.

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