Smoking ban to be discussed at July 11 public hearing

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By John Morton

The details on how to implement a recent ban on smoking in Sarasota County’s public beaches and parks will take place at 9 a.m. July 11 as the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners tackles the new ordinance it put into effect in late February.
The ban does not include non-filtered cigars.
The meeting, which will feature a public hearing where citizens receive five minutes to share their views, will be held at the R.L. Anderson Administration Center, 4000 S. Tamiami Tr., in Venice.
If the ban is approved, it would begin Oct. 1 — the start of the county’s new fiscal year.
Litter, and its impact on both people and wildlife, is the focus of the ban. Cigarette butts can take up to 10 years to decompose, research has shown.
Sarasota County did have a similar ban in place between 2007 and 2012, but it was overturned in the courts. Before being approved last year in a measure where such a decision returned to local counties and municipalities after being under state control, Sarasota-based state Sen. Joe Gruters had proposed the ban three straight years without success during sessions of the Florida Legislature.
How the new ban would be enforced, and what fines would be levied upon violators, will be among the challenges commissioners will face.
Siesta Key’s Mark Smith, the commissioner for District 2, made the push for the ban that was supported by his colleagues in a 3-1 vote with Mike Moran opposing.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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