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HB2208 Delayed but Still a Threat to Clean Indoor Air in West Virginia

Thursday, January 29, 2015

HB 2208 which would prohibit local boards of health from promulgating a regulation which restricts smoking was delayed yesterday due to the cancellation of a the Political Subdivision Committee meeting after a long floor session.

This bill would only permit local boards of health to make a written recommendation to the county commission regarding any “smoking restriction”. The recommendation would only become effective if the county commission votes to approve it.

Further, the bill would require the county commission of a county in which a local board of health currently enforces a smoking restriction to hold a vote on whether to adopt such restriction as an ordinance within sixty days of this law taking effect.

This legislation is still pending for consideration and is likely to be on the agenda at the next meeting of this committee.

Please contact ALL OF YOUR HOUSE OF DELEGATE MEMBERS and ask them to OPPOSE HB2208. This bill would preempt local boards of health from having authority to regulate smoking and place this critical public health issue in the hands of county commissioners. This legislation threatens nearly 2 decades of progress made in West Virginia.

See here for contact information for your members.

PLEASE WRITE Your Representatives AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND ASK THAT THEY SUPPORT THE HEALTH OF WEST VIRGINIA COMMUNITIES, WORKERS AND FAMILIES BY OPPOSING HB2208!

The full text of this bill is as follows:

H. B. 2208
(By Delegates McGeehan, Hartman, Faircloth, Cowles, Folk, Zatezalo, J. Nelson and Householder)
[Introduced January 22, 2015; referred to the
Committee on Political Subdivisions then Government Organization.]

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §16-2-16, relating to local smoking restrictions; ensuring that only government officials elected by voters to serve on county commissions will have the power to regulate smoking and creating a process by which local boards of health may make formal recommendations for smoking ordinances to county commissions.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §16-2-16, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. LOCAL BOARDS OF HEALTH.
§16-2-16. Procedure for local regulation of smoking.
(a) Short title. – This section shall be known and may be cited as the “Elected Official Accountability Act.”
(b) For the purposes of this section, “smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other lighted smoking device for burning tobacco or any other plant. “Smoking” does not include the burning of incense in a religious ceremony.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of this code, a local board of health may not promulgate a rule or regulation that restricts smoking.
(d) If a local board of health determines that a restriction of smoking is required to protect the public health within the local board’s service area, the local board shall make a written recommendation to the county commission of the county in which the local board is located. After receiving a written recommendation regarding a proposed smoking restriction from a local board of health, a county commission may review such recommendation in a regular or special session and vote on whether to implement the proposed restriction as an ordinance, in accordance with the requirements of article one, chapter seven of this code.
(e) The county commission of a county in which a local board of health currently enforces a smoking restriction shall hold a vote on whether to adopt such restriction as an ordinance, in accordance with the requirements of article one, chapter seven of this code, within sixty days of this law taking effect.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that only government officials elected by voters to serve on a county commission will have the power to regulate smoking and to create a process by which local boards of health may make formal recommendations for smoking ordinances to county commissions.

View the bill here: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Status/bills_text.cfm?billdoc=hb2208%20intr.htm&yr=2015&sesstype=RS&i=2208

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For more information visit http://www.tobacco-free-wv.com

- See more at: http://www.wvhealthywomen.org/pages/News/2015/HB2208-Delayed-but-Still-a-Threat-to-Clean-Indoor#sthash.7EITVw8l.jeC1y4pM.dpuf