City Council re-votes Sheffield’s draconian anti-smoking ordinance – No Change

By  | February 5, 2019 | Filed under: News

Sheffield Mayor Ian Sanford

“Until the City Council votes to improve this ordinance, I will bring up this issue every month until I leave the Mayor’s Office”, Ian Sanford promised at Monday night’s meeting. His statement brought applause from the audience, which last night consisted of mostly residents who were against the ordinance, which effectively outlaws the use of tobacco products everywhere in the City except within private property.  It was interesting to note that the regular pro-ordinance cluster of people from the Colbert County Health Department and an organization called, “Smoke-Free Shoals”, which was responsible for inducing City Council member Steve Stanley and three others to push the measure over the finish line, were not in the room last night. According to sources, the State has been in regular communication with the County Health Department in response to the overwhelming negative response from business owners and the citizenry of Sheffield, who have been loudly complaining that the ordinance was rushed through without public hearings or input from those who would have liked to have had a say in the process.

Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Nix

Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Nix called for a vote to rescind the existing ordinance. The vote failed 3-to-3. It is noted that Council Member Malea Scales, who originally voted in favor of the ordinance, changed her opinion and voted with Sanford and Nix to rescind. But that wasn’t enough. According to City Clerk Clayton Kelly, ordinances can only be changed by a majority vote.

Numerous business owners, who have been attending every City Council meeting since the ordinance bubbled up into the Sheffield electorate’s consciousness , again expressed their concern over the ordinance, citing poor sales at their businesses, most of which, oddly enough, do not permit smoking anyway. They cited that the law has cast a pall over the city and has hurt both restaurant and retail businesses.

City Council member Steve Stanley, in his closing remarks, said that he was elected to the Council to work in the public interest. And his opinion was that using tobacco products is harmful. He said that his opinion led him to offer this ordinance and he was never going to change his vote.

Steve Stanley

Stanley has said in the past that he went to the Internet to find various ordinances from around the U.S., and did a “copy-and-paste” on the portions of those ordinances that he felt best suited his notions.

The State of Alabama already regulates the use of tobacco, as well as do the surrounding cities of The Shoals. However, they are not as restrictive as Sheffield’s.

Last night’s ordinance, which was introduced by Mayor Sanford, was modeled much like Florence’s smoking law.

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