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Smoking ban vote to wait until September

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis aldermen will adjourn for the summer without taking action on a proposal to ban smoking in most public places.

Board rules mean even if the Health and Human Services committee had taken action Thursday, the entire Board of Aldermen would not have considered the legislation until late September. Opponents plan to use the period to get organized.

Some, like Gary Keeton, the part-owner of Keeton's Double Play in south St. Louis, said they didn't know about the hearings until receiving a letter from a smoking ban opponent.

"So we're going to use the delay to kind of determine some strategies, and develop some action plans, some petitions, and possibly be able to let our aldermen know that our registered voters and our customers that come into our building want it to be a choice," he said. Many small bars said the ban could put them out of business.

Sponsor Lyda Krewson, the 28th Ward alderwoman, said the delay doesn't affect the measure's chances. And the three days of hearings, she said, have had an impact elsewhere.

"Wildwood is now discussing this, Kirkwood is discussing this again, University City, they're expecting to take it up, Clayton we know is going to have a final vote shortly," she said.

Casino floors are exempt from the ban, which upsets opponents. It does not take effect unless the county passes similar legislation.