Beginning March 1, it will be illegal to smoke in Dallas' public parks. But not all of them. And not all of the time.
The City Council voted Wednesday morning to approve a smoking ban with exceptions made for municipal golf courses, the city-owned gun-and-archery range and parks controlled by private partners. Those include the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas Arboretum, Lee Park and Fair Park during the State Fair of Texas.
And a last-minute amendment also made it possible to light up in the future park beneath the Trinity River levees, to be funded with $50 million donated by the family of Harold Simmons.
The vote was close, with six council members supporting a full-on ban. Mayor Mike Rawlings, a former Park and Recreation Board president who said in June that he supported a partial ban, is out of the country on a trade mission.
The ban will be added to the 2008 ordinance outlawing smoking in, among other places, Dallas' bars, restaurants and city-owned facilities. Anyone caught violating the ordinance could be fined up to $200 — though, as northwest Dallas council representative Jennifer Staubach Gates pointed out Wednesday morning, enforcement could be difficult.
The council was set to vote on a ban without exceptions. But Pleasant Grove's Rickey Callahan proposed an amendment leaving room for muni golf courses, the Elm Fork Shooting Sports facility and other parks with contracted operators.
Callahan said he was proposing the amendment because he's "concerned about hyper-regulation" and "creating more rules." He found a supporter in North Dallas' Lee Kleinman, who said, "Over-regulation is a concern of mine," adding that he wasn't interested in trying to serve "a health agenda or social agenda."
Kleinman also added another amendment, which said the ban was limited only to land defined as a city park.
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Wynne McNabb Cunningham