The S.C. Supreme Court says Greenville’s smoking ban is OK after all — as in, NOT pre-empted by the usual legislative attempts to prevent local governments from governing as local folks see fit:
By MEG KINNARD – Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Cities and towns have the power to ban indoor smoking in public places, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday in a decision that anti-smoking advocates predicted will spawn more rules against where people may light up in South Carolina.
The ruling upheld a ban against indoor, public smoking that the city of Greenville imposed last year. Dozens of bars and restaurants had sued, claiming their business would suffer. A judge then quashed the ban, ruling that local governments had to let the state lead the way when it comes to smoking bans.
In the justices’ unanimous decision Monday, the high court said local governments can impose more stringent regulations…
So, does this mean that Columbia can finally pull the trigger on its prospective ban on smoking in restaurants (but, unfortunately, not bars). It would appear so, since the ban supposedly waited only on a court ruling. A number of other communities had gone ahead with bans of their own. Here’s a list.
The jury’s still out on a statewide ban. But as long as the Legislature doesn’t move to make SURE locals can’t do it (and don’t put it past them for a second; they HATE the governments closest to the people), at least the will of local communities can now be acted upon, and relied upon to stick.