Should lawmakers be allowed to smoke in the capitol?
Tue, 10 May 2011 02:02:03 GMT —
Smoking is not allowed in any public building in Jefferson City, including restaurants, bars and all state office buildings.
But are state lawmakers getting special privileges?
Some viewers think so, because lawmakers can still smoke inside their offices in the capitol.
"We elect these people to be leaders in our state. The leaders are sending the wrong message of smoking in a state building when nobody else is allowed to smoke in any state building, Cole County Resident Mike Singer said.
In January state lawmakers passed a rule that no one can smoke in the gallery, which is in the back of the chamber.
But they can still smoke behind closed doors in their offices.
Why is that?
One lawmaker, who doesn't agree with the rule, explains that the offices are considered private.
"My office is considered a private space for a legislator and therefore I can choose to smoke in this space if I want to, State Representative District 59 Jeanette Mott Oxford said.
But not everyone buys that argument.
"We have people that have private offices in other state maintained buildings, are they allowed to smoke in their offices, no. So why should the legislators be allowed to, I don't see that they're better than anybody else, Singer said.
Not all lawmakers think it's fine to smoke in the capitol. Some think they should do away with it.
"I don't really see the point of letting representatives smoke in their office, State Representative District 113 Mike Bernskoetter said.
Bernskoetter said if it comes back up for a vote, he'll try to snuff out all the smoking in the capitol. Mott Oxford told me she wants all smoking banned from the capitol because it sets a bad example for children.
"Every day hundreds if not thousands of school children tour this building. We tell them in their health classes don't smoke, but they come to the seat of power in state and they find a building with smoke in it. That TMs really an issue of hypocrisy for me and I think we ought to change it, Mott Oxford said.
But with four days left in the legislative session there's no plan on the table to change the smoking rule.
Tells us what you think.
Do you think lawmakers should be allowed to smoke in their private offices at the capitol?