Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Brent Johnson address a small crowd of people during a borough public hearing held Monday, March 9, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Brent Johnson address a small crowd of people during a borough public hearing held Monday, March 9, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Borough to consider banning smoking in buildings

Current code only bans smoking in assembly chambers during meetings and session.

With one exception, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Code of Ordinances doesn’t prohibit smoking in borough buildings. Assembly Vice President Brent Johnson is working to change that.

Chapter 10.08 of borough code describes “Prohibition of Smoking” rules in the borough. That chapter has two sections, the first of which says that “Smoking is prohibited in the assembly room of the Kenai Peninsula Borough at any time that the assembly is in session at a public meeting.” That chapter was approved by the assembly in 1980 and passed by a vote of 10-6.

The ordinance up for consideration by the assembly on Tuesday would amend the section with language prohibiting smoking in borough buildings and vehicles and adding fines for violations of the policies.

Johnson said Thursday that he encountered the borough’s existing smoking code while doing research for a different issue, which motivated him to bring the legislation forward. The ordinance was approved for introduction by the assembly during their Sept. 7 meeting and will be up for a public hearing on Tuesday.

Johnson said he was proud when the Alaska Legislature passed a statewide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places. That bill, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, passed in 2018. Johnson said Thursday that his ordinance would bring the borough into compliance with state statute.

State statute prohibits smoking in enclosed public spaces “at a place of government or public assembly located on property that is owned or operated by the state, a municipality, or a regional educational attendance area” or that is owned by an agent of those entities. Rules are also provided for smoking in outdoor spaces.

“KPB 10.08 has not been amended in over 40 years and should reflect current Alaska law,” the legislation says.

If approved, the legislation up for consideration on Tuesday would ban smoking in:

All enclosed properties owned or controlled by the Kenai Peninsula Borough

All areas within 20 feet of each entrance to enclosed areas on properties owned or controlled by the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Outdoors within 10 feet of playground equipment at a public school

All areas within 50 feet of each entrance to a Kenai Peninsula Borough service area hospital

All vehicles owned, operated or controlled by the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The legislation would also implement a $100 fine for violation of any of those provisions.

Tuesday’s meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly can be streamed live on the borough’s website at kpb.legistar.us.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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