Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chamber of Commerce opposes smoking initiative, supports waste water plant

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - The Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce board of directors weighed in on some key local ballot issues on Tuesday.

The Chamber chose to oppose the smoking ban initiative, saying that it was too restrictive. In a press release, board members concluded that the smoking initiative was a matter of individual rights.

The board members further believe that the initiative simply addresses the symptoms of the smoking problem instead of addressing the root problem. The Chamber suggests increasing the number of smoking cessation programs for employees.

Current legislation in Jefferson City would add the effects of second hand smoke as compensable under the Missouri Worker’s Compensation laws. Chamber president John Mehner urges businesses to consider this when making decisions about smoking in their establishments.

"I think that signals a changing environment in the acceptance, or lack of acceptance I should say, of smoking. Which is understandable," Mehner said. "Simply what the board is saying is that Chamber business members need to be aware of what those circumstances are and as they lay out their business plans for the future they to take those things into consideration."

The Chamber board supports both ballot issues related to Cape Girardeau'’s new water treatment plant. One ballot measure extends the quarter-cent sewer sales tax, while the other authorizes bonds for funding the plant. The board reasons that construction would continue regardless of the voting outcome, but passage of both issues would be less costly than voting them down.

The issues will appear on the April 5th ballot.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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