Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances
 

News Summary

Save local governments' right to craft own smoke-free laws

Publication Date: 2008-04-07
  • Author:Editorial by DAN CARRIGAN AND DIANE WILSON
  • Publication:The Charleston Post and Courier

In a tremendous victory for public health, the S.C. Supreme Court has ruled that local municipalities have the right to protect their citizens from exposure to secondhand smoke. So what's next? The tobacco/hospitality lobby and their legislative allies seem to think we should take those rights away.

Almost immediately following the court's ruling, opponents of local control declared a "need" for a "preemptive" statewide law to strip local municipalities of their right to pass smoke-free ordinances.

Thursday's Post and Courier editorial omitted the experiences of health advocates who are working at the Statehouse to defend local governments' right to pass local smoke-free ordinances.

The editorial failed to mention that no state has passed a preemptive law in years and that nearly every strong statewide law in the country was preceded by passage of local laws. Other states are repealing preemptive laws as they pass their own statewide smoke-free laws. So, why would South Carolina pass the first new preemptive law in years, while everyone else is getting rid of them?