The Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will not vote on proposed rules for the statewide smoking ban until Jan. 9. Anybody want start some line of communication with this committee?
Here is there Charter: http://www.ilga. gov/commission/ jcar/
This is a list of contacts: http://www.ilga. gov/commission/ jcar/member. pdf
As a last ditch effort, I am going to call each one of the reps.
At a minimum, I will email and snail mail the Federal ruling from . Do you think its possible that these elected officials might understant the the enforcement aspects of the new law are "Constitutionally Vague"?
smoking ban goes into effect Jan. 1
BY CHRIS WETTERICH
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will not vote on proposed rules for the statewide smoking ban until Jan. 9, but the law will go into effect as written Jan. 1.
"The law supercedes the rules," Kimberly Parker, a state Department of Public Health spokeswoman, said Wednesday. "The law goes into effect as announced."
JCAR consists of 12 senators and representatives from both parties. It reviews rules made by state agencies and can make suggestions, object to and prohibit rules from taking effect, according to its Web site.
But Gov. , in a recent controversial decision related to his desire to expand state health-care coverage, decided that JCAR has no power to block administration actions.
Rebecca Rausch, a spokeswoman for the governor, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The specifics of the smoking ban were turned over to JCAR in late November, so it has until Jan. 9 to approve them. JCAR and the administration could agree to an extension of that deadline. Jan. 9 also is the next day the panel will meet in .
Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, said JCAR's delay in voting on the rules is because questions remain about the best way to enforce the law.
"There's stuff statutorily that should be in there that's not," said Fritchey, a member of JCAR. "There's a strong concern that the implementation of the act follows the intent of the legislation and does no more or no less."
Among the questions that still need to be answered is whether State Police should enforce the ban, how people can contest citations they receive, whether facilities where smoking research is conducted should be exempt, and how to interpret the part of the law banning smoking within 15 feet of entrances.
For example, Fritchey said, does a business get ticketed if a person waiting to cross the street in a rain shower is standing under a canopy smoking?
"There's a gray zone. I don't believe anybody intended for a private business to be liable for the actions of a private citizen who's not a patron," said Fritchey, who voted for the bill. "One would always hope common sense rules the day. But history has shown we need direction for those who show less common sense than others."
There also is no provision for fines to be contested under the state law, a concern brought up by local health officials at a recent meeting to discuss the law.
and the unincorporated parts of Sangamon County do have a hearing process under their local smoking bans.
The efficient thing to do would be to send a "trailer bill" through the legislature to clean up the language, Fritchey said, but there is a concern that "when you open the door a bit, you have a number of folks that would try to kick it all the way open."
Another potential problem is that there does not appear to be an exemption for tobacco research being done at Northwestern University in Chicago, said Sen. Maggie Crotty, D-Oak Forest.
"I think a lot of these things can be worked out," Crotty said.
In the meantime, Fritchey said, the law as written should be enforced starting Jan. 1.
The statewide ban affects all indoor workplaces and spaces open to the public. The only exceptions are for private homes not used for adult day care, child care or health care; private vehicles; private nursing home rooms; retail tobacco stores; and designated hotel and motel rooms.