- Written by Heart Beat Staff
The third petition effort this year
COLUMBIA, Mo 12/19/14 (Beat Byte) -- Braving the shark-infested waters of a Columbia City Council and political culture many see as too authoritarian, a statewide group is joining CoMo citizens seeking repeal of three city ordinances.
Bistate Regional Advocates for Vaping Education (BRAVE) announced it will join Keep Columbia Free to fight Columbia "ordinances passed last Monday that raised the tobacco sale age to 21 and banned the use of e-cigarettes indoors."
A Missouri consumer advocacy, BRAVE promotes vapor products, commonly known as e-cigarettes.
Ordinance sponsors and supporters cited public health concerns, and only one Council member, 5th Ward representative Laura Nauser, voted against the new restrictions. "She followed her libertarian principles right off the cliff, and landed in the company of the merchants of disease and death," Missourian columnist George Kennedy wrote yesterday.
A minority at Monday's Council meeting, during which the ordinances passed 6-1, petitioners cite the futility of another prohibition.
"While I’m sure these policies are well-intended, they will do little to curb use of cigarettes by 18-20 year olds," said Columbia resident Spencer Pearson, who authored the three referendum petitions. "The only thing these smokers have to change is where they purchase their cigarettes."
BRAVE is the third group this year to make its voice known through the petition process, guaranteed to Columbia citizens under the City Charter, Columbia's guiding constitution. Earlier petition drives delivered to the city clerk far in excess of the signatures required for repeal or recall action.
With over 8,000 signatures gathered twice, petitioners sought to stop construction of the Opus student apartments downtown, after Council members passed two so-called "development agreements" guaranteeing Opus access to publicly-funded but woefully inadequate sewer, water, electric, and other infrastructure.
With over 450 signatures, petitioners are also seeking recall of First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick, who led the charge to service Opus and pass the three restrictive tobacco/vaping ordinances. "Make no mistake; the Council's actions to raise the age for purchase of tobacco products from 18 to 21 and begin regulating e-cigarettes were the direct result of Ginny’s initiative," Kennedy noted.
Petitioners have until Monday, January 5th at 5:00 p.m. to collect just over 3,200 valid signatures, Pearson said.
"BRAVE condemns the actions of the Columbia City Council, which went directly against the will of the Missouri Legislature that defined vapor products separate from tobacco, and set the purchase age at 18+," said BRAVE representative A.J. Moll. "The City Council and health committee succumbed to special interest health groups, and were led astray by outdated scientific studies, some suspected to be funded by makers of ineffective nicotine patches, gum and inhalers."
To sign the petition, registered voters may contact: