When the state Supreme Court ruled local health departments couldn't enact city on county-wide smoking bans, several communities had to start the process all over again, including Madison County which began Wednesday night with a special health board meeting.
"We would like to continue what we think is a good thing."
Take note of the word continue. For seven years, Madison County was smoke-free, by law inside of public places. In that time, Bullitt, Clark and Woodford counties also started leaving butts outside.
Even so, health boards in each county were taking the laws into their own hands, something above and beyond their authority.
Now, after a recent lawsuit in Bullitt County, these laws created by the health departments, are void.
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled health departments, which are appointed as opposed to elected, can't enact smoking bans on their own. City and county governing bodies which are elected, have to do it.
"This is in consideration for action to urge the three local governments to adopt clean indoor air regulations as a uniform ordinance,” said MCHD vice chair, Dr. John Johnstone.
Those three all being in Madison County and spearheaded, for starters, by Berea.
"But it's not over," said Berea mayor Steven Connelly.
Mayor Connelly encouraged the board to fight for the ban and offer its service as enforcer for code violations and complaints--not a tough task--considering the health department fielded only 38 complaints and 9 enforcements in the seven years the law was in existence in Madison County.
"It just makes sense, if they're willing, to go ahead and take advantage of their expertise,”said Connelly.
Wednesday's vote meant the health board will take its argument to the three governing bodies in Madison County, that being the county, Richmond and Berea.