Should smoking be allowed in Missouri's Capitol?
Sat, 15 Jan 2011 00:44:02 GMT —
This week the Missouri House voted to continue allowing smoking in Capitol offices.During a vote on Thursday, lawmakers did agree to prohibit smoking in a gallery reserved for members in the back of the chamber.The Missouri Senate also allows smoking in senators' offices.Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford, D-St. Louis believes the entire Capitol should be smoke free."We have an air system in this building that means we basically all breathe the same air, Oxford said. And it's just the nature of tobacco smoke that it does not know how to stop at a border, just because we shut a door."Many point out that the Capitol is the only state-owned building where you can still light up and question its effects on school children who tour the building and those with breathing problems.I think the fact that smoking is still allowed in the State Capitol is a double standard, all other state office buildings prohibit smoking but yet it is still allowed in the State Capitol?, asked Jefferson City Resident Michael Thompson in an email to KRCG.Thompson's email went on to say: this is holding them to a separate standard than all other state employees, not to mention the public that goes in these buildings, are they better than all the other state employee AND the public who pay their salaries?Another viewer agreed in an email sent to KRCG: As a Missouri taxpayer I think ALL state buildings should be smoke free. What gives them the right to think that is their private office. Please do a more indepth story as I think more taxpayers would be interested in this. Imagine the cost to remove the smell/stained walls, who pays for that???Allowing smoking in the Capitol seems to violate the state's no smoking policy which states that smoking in prohibited inside all buildings exclusively occupied by the state of Missouri regardless of whether the building is owned or leased by the state.Lawmakers who voted to continue allowing smoking said that a total smoking ban at the Capitol would be an intrusion on personal liberty."At what point is this going to stop?, asked Representative Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles.One justification given for allowing lawmakers to smoke in their offices is that they and their staffers work long days and it would impose a hardship to make them go that long without smoking.Representative Tim Meadows, D-Imperial, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the smoking problem in the Capitol is overstated. Meadows said when he smokes in his office he closes his office door, opens the window and turns on a fan.Smoking already is barred in the House chamber and public galleries.Smoking is not allowed in areas of the Capitol controlled by the governor.Should lawmakers be allowed to smoke in their offices? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.(The Associated Press contributed to this article)