City council tramples on property rights again
Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times April 25, 2017
To the Editor:
We have reached the point in nanny-state laws that we are legislating manners instead of public safety. This was a theme when the city council voted to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in "public places." These "public places" are actually private property. The city is deciding for property owners whether they will allow customers to use a legal product on their property.
One councilor suggested businesses are not currently prohibiting e-cigarettes. That is simply not true. Some places in Bloomington do that already. They did not need permission or a mandate from city government to do that. There is no real confusion about what is allowed.
E-cigarettes are not tobacco products and are far less harmful than smoked tobacco. The "harmful chemicals" are detected in trace amounts. Some on the council do not care about that, saying this law is about "common courtesy." So now we're legislating manners?
Does the sparse crowd, especially compared to 2003, indicate people do not trust the council to listen to them?
Will the council vote to ban someone with a bad cold from public places?
The county commissioners defeated a similar ban earlier this year. The city council should have followed that example.