Lubbock city council members are poised to adopt a citywide smoking ban that would potentially be one of the strictest in the entire state. Will Lubbock voters sit idly by while their city council imposes such harsh nanny-state regulations? Such inaction may signal implicit approval, paving the way for additional regulations like what has already been passed in the City of Austin.
According to Chad Hasty of Breitbart Texas, Lubbock City Council will take up the proposed ordinance for debate later this week. The ban would prohibit smoking not only in bars and restaurants, but also inside cars and homes in certain circumstances. The ban includes all products with tobacco and nicotine, including e-cigarettes and vapor. It’s unclear whether they’ll present the idea to voters for approval.
Voters in Lubbock may think they have several cultural and philosophical differences than their counterparts in Austin (and likely so), but they shouldn’t think for a second that those distinctions alone would prevent further encroachment of liberties like what’s taken place in our state’s capitol city.
Nearly a decade ago, Austin City Council voted to implement a nanny-state smoking ban in businesses and public places, including restaurants and bars, to the angst of many Austinites concerned about the encroachment upon their civil and private property rights. Opponents of the ban sought to place a resolution before voters that would have overruled the ordinance, but proponents of the ban launched a fierce ad campaign in favor of it. Voters ultimately approved the ban by a 52-48% margin.
Since that time, Austin City Council has imposed additional nanny-state regulations on its citizens, including the passage of a ban on single-use plastic and paper shopping bags which went into effect March of 2013, and a ban on cell-phone use while driving that will go into effect at the beginning of 2015. Neither of those ordinances were put on the ballot for voters to approve.
Austin’s perceived “progressive” culture may make these big-government intrusions seem easy to write off, but what starts in one community when voters are apathetic is sure to spread elsewhere if voter apathy continues to be a trend.
Now more than ever is the time for Lubbock voters to start talking to their city council members before an official vote takes place. Does your city council member support this overreaching regulation? Will they seek to get voter approval or simply vote among themselves to codify it into city code?
Start asking those questions now before any more of your liberties go up in smoke.