Residents Call For Stricter Smoking Laws

Residents Call For Stricter Smoking Laws

In response to how vocal Texomans were to our Only On 6: Second Hand Smoke Dangers report, we sat down with Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham to find out how concerned residents can enact change.

Texomans voted in our online poll question, and 75% said they would be in favor of stricter smoking regulations in bars and restaurants, while just 25% said they would not. "Those numbers don't surprise me at all," said Mayor Barham.

The mayor said he would "whole-heartedly support" a stricter smoking ban in the city, but it is ultimately the Council's decision.

An item can be added to the City Council agenda for consideration in three ways; any three councilors can get together to add it, the Mayor can put it on the agenda on his or her own, or city staff can add it.

Mayor Barham said residents concerned with the current smoking ordinance should reach out to Lou Kriedler, Executive Director at the Wichita Falls Wichita County Health District. She is also a city staff member and can get the ordinance on the Council agenda.

"When Lou has brought it up in the past, there just seemed to be a little bit of a lack of support from the Council, so she didn't pursue it," said Mayor Barham. "But you know, times have changed."

We reached out to each City Councilor to see where they stand on the issue, and spoke to Ben Hoover, Annetta Pope-Dotson and Mary Ward.

Hoover said, as a new Councilor, he would like to review the current ordinance in full before making a statement. Pope-Dotson and Ward both said they would fully support a stricter ordinance if it came before the Council.

The measure only needs four votes to pass. The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, May 21st at 8:30a.m.

Christina Myers