Smoking Ban Limbo

Ahh Philadelphia politics. Councilman Nutter passes bill to ban smoking. It’s a compromise bill leaving out corner bars and outdoor cafes. Mayor Street doesn’t like Nutter. So once Nutter resigns, Street looks at vetoing the bill as a way to stick it to Nutter. Once again everyone looking out for the greater good. The Inquirer breaks down the ridiculousness.

Smoking foes declared victory. Health groups exulted. And the ban’s sponsor, Michael A. Nutter, quit to run for mayor as a successful reformer.

And then, late last month, Street threatened to veto the bill, calling it defective.

Street is a vocal antismoker, but he is perhaps an even more vocal critic of Nutter. A veto would deprive Nutter of a key legislative accomplishment.

The mayor’s criticisms focused on some of the exemptions Nutter included to help pass the bill – notably a provision that allows smoking in outdoor cafes. He also teed off on Nutter for leaving Council before the bill became law.

Nutter, in turn, said his presence or absence in Council should be immaterial to the mayor’s decision to sign or veto. Noting that he accepted less than a full ban only to ensure passage, Nutter said Street should champion an amendment if he wanted a change.

Smoking ban rears its head again [Philadelphia Inquirer]