Bullitt County is waiting to hearing whether smoking will be banned in restaurants, bars and other public places. A county judge is expected to make a decision before Sept. 19, when the ban is scheduled to take effect.
The Bullitt County Health Department passed a smoking ban that puts restrictions on where people may smoke, citing health reasons for the ban. But the county government says it can’t do that.
“They said the board of health is not a legislative body so therefore they cannot adopt new regulation unless there’s a law in the books,” said Swannie Jett, executive director of the Bullitt County Health Department.
Bullitt County officials and several city governments say it’s not in the health department’s jurisdiction to pass the regulation without writing it into law, and the county government says that’s something it can’t do.
“The board of health’s response is that according to a KRS statute (212.230) they have been given the legal right due to general assembly which passed it down to the cabinet of health and human services,” said Jett.
Bullitt County Circuit Judge Rodney Burress is now deciding whether the board of health has the right to passing the regulation.
In January the health department conducted a survey that shows 60 percent strongly favor a smoking ban.
The regulations include banning smoking in bars, restaurants and 20 feet from service lines or seating in sports arenas. It also bans e-cigarettes that release water vapor instead of smoke.
Bullitt County’s counsel would not respond until after a decision is made.