A proposed smoking ban that threatened to split the Owensboro city commission was amended Tuesday evening to exclude bars and other establishments that don't serve patrons under the age of 18.
The exemption would apply only to bars already in operation. New bars that open after the ordinance takes effect would have to be smoke-free.
The amended measure still prohibits smoking in nearly all public places, including parks, private outdoor dining areas, and all city-owned properties.
Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne told WKU Public Radio the city’s success demands a smoke-free policy.
"We now have thousands of people converging on our riverfront," commented Payne. "We have a significant amount of outdoor dining that we've never had before and smoking has really become an issue."
The amended ordinance will come up for a vote September 2, and if approved, would go into effect October first.
Owensboro’s smoking ban is more comprehensive than a similar measure approved in 2006 by the Daviess County government.