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The city of Dallas is considering amending an ordinance to ban smoking within 25 feet of school bus stops. Smoking is already banned in places like the Dallas skate park.
December 03, 2013
DALLAS — The Dallas City Council is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking within 25 feet of school bus stops when children are present.
The provision would amend a previously adopted ordinance banning smoking from parks, public transit bus shelters, and city and school sports fields and facilities.
Most Dallas City councilors at Monday's meeting believed the ordinance would work best if paired with an educational campaign about the dangers of second-hand smoke — most likely through a partnership with the Dallas School District.
Some councilors favored other strategies to solve the problem, though.
"We have a really good opportunity here to approach this in a different way that may be more effective than putting it into an ordinance," said Councilor Beth Jones.
She suggested instead of adopting an ordinance, the city and district should send letters to parents asking them politely not to smoke around the bus stops. Councilor Jackie Lawson added that it would be a lot to ask city police officers to patrol school bus stops, in addition to parks and other places smoking is not allowed.
"I do not agree with having ordinances that we can't enforce or that are not intended to be enforced," Jones said.
Councilor Kelly Gabliks noted, however, that simply asking people to not light up around bus stops may not be enough in all cases.
"You need to have something out there than strictly prohibits it," she said. "I would much prefer that we have the ordinance and then work with the district."
City Manager Ron Foggin said the city and the schools have already begun planning how to get information to parents regarding the possible rule change.
The ordinance will return to the council for a second reading and vote at the council's next meeting on Jan. 6.
In other business, the council:
• Canceled its Dec. 16 meeting due to lack of agenda items.