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A Seat in the House

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No more smoking in public places

A few weeks ago I discussed passage of Senate Bill 1283 that prohibits smoking in public places and at public meetings in indoor environments. Since then several people have contacted me asking exactly how the legislation might affect their business or as customers of those businesses covered by the law.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has announced the draft rules are now available on the Internet for review by the public. The draft rules help provide clarity to the new law that went into effect on July l. Those who do not have access to the Internet can obtain a copy of the draft rules by calling the Idaho Care Line at 1-800-926-2588.

The Department has also published a list of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to the law and answers to those questions. The following is a list of those questions and answers as published by the Department. I believe this information will be helpful to readers that may be wondering how the new legislation might affect them.

Question: What does the law mean to specific businesses?

Answer:  The following are samples of some of the businesses that are impacted: Restaurants are no longer allowed to permit smoking inside. A bar can allow smoking if the service of food is low risk, non-potentially hazardous food (not licensed as a restaurant), or no person under the age of 21 years is permitted. A restaurant that has a bar within it falls under the definition of a restaurant and cannot allow smoking. However, there are options being proposed in the draft rules to address some circumstances where a bar is within a restaurant. Some establishments that contain a bar within a restaurant may: physically isolate the bar area from the restaurant with a solid floor to ceiling wall, have a separate outside public entrance that is not shared with the restaurant, not have any windows or doorways connecting it to the restaurant where the public has access, and not allow secondhand smoke from the bar to impact the restaurant area, or designate themselves as a completely non-smoking  establishment; or designate themselves a smoking establishment as long as they comply with the definition of a bar as defined above: or may have posted hours as a non-smoking restaurant and hours as a smoking bar as long as they comply with the definition of a bar. Golf courses have to comply with the new law if they are a semi-private or public golf course. Golf course restaurants and retail stores within the golf course will have to be non- smoking. Bars located at golf courses can allow smoking as long as they comply with the definition of a bar, i.e. isolated from the restaurant, etc. Hospitals are defined as a public place and are mandated to have a 20-foot non-smoking restriction at the public entrance and exit to/from the building. Smoking is not permitted in licensed childcare facilities, including facilities operated out of private homes during the hours children are present. Retail and grocery stores are covered under the definition of a public place and smoking inside the facility is not allowed. Schools are defined as a public place and the bill places a 20-foot non-smoking restriction at the entrances and exits. The restriction also applies to dormitories. Patios are not considered under the definition of an enclosed  place of business, therefore, establishment owners can designate the smoking status of their patios. Senate Bill 1283 states that smoking is permitted in bowling alleys with at least two bowling lanes and is also permitted in buildings owned and operated by social, fraternal and religious organizations.

These rules are in draft and the public has the opportunity to provide comments on the draft rules. Public hearings will be held throughout the month of August and are scheduled for 7 to 9 pm at various locations within the state. The closest public hearing scheduled for our area is in Coeur d’Alene on August 11. Following the public comment period, the Department will finalize the rules and present them, along with all public comment, to the Director who will then present the final rules to the 2005 Idaho Legislature for approval.

The draft rules in their entirety can be reviewed on the Department’s web site at: www2.state.id.us/dhw/health/smokingrules.htm.If you have questions about the draft rules you can call the Department at 1-800-445-8647 or email at: [email protected]

Thanks for reading and as always, if you have questions on the “no-smoking” legislation or any other legislation, please feel free to contact me anytime. My home phone is 208-265-0123 and my mailing address is P.O. Box 112, Dover, 83825.


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Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

Tagged as:

Politics, Idaho, smoking, Senate Bill 1283

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