City of Lincoln
VETO OVERRIDE ON SMOKEFREE AIR ACT
“I have great respect for Lincoln’s public process. But I am disappointed in the City Council’s decision because it makes law an unfair and inequitable ordinance and will cost the taxpayers money.
“I vetoed the Smokefree Air Act because it is unfair, it will be difficult to enforce and it will be expensive to defend. It is unfair because it treats businesses differently. Because it does not treat businesses the same, it leaves the city vulnerable to legal action. And since the City Attorney already has told the Council this ordinance has legal problems, the City will have to hire outside counsel at taxpayer expense to defend the City from lawsuits.
“The Smokefree Air Act as passed is an administrative quagmire. The notion of allowing smoking in some bars and restaurants but not in others based on how much food is sold is not enforceable. The City has no way to track or enforce this idea. The administrative cost for both the city and the businesses to prepare and review their revenues is burdensome and expensive.
“The City now will do its best to create regulations to implement this imperfect law. But as the Law Department and the Police Department have indicated, there will be unintended consequences to this, such as the implications for young people in bowling centers.
“I said during Council consideration of this issue that I would wait and see what the Council approved. But I have long said I would support a smoke free air act that is fair and not burdensome to business; simple to understand and enforce; and that protects the public health equally. This version does not meet that criteria. I am disappointed that the City Council adopted this legislation knowing it has inherent problems.”