In accordance with this week’s court ruling, the statewide smoking ban passed by the 2010 Kansas Legislature and signed into law on March 12 by Gov. Mark Parkinson in now in effect in Wichita.
Enforcement of the new state law had been delayed under a temporary restraining order issue in Sedgwick County District Court. That order was lifted Tuesday.
The new state law is more restrictive than the city ordinance adopted by the Wichita City Council in 2008. State law has priority over local ordinances, which means the local ordinance is superseded.
Local law enforcement will be responsible for enforcement of the new state law. Under the existing city ordinance, the Wichita Office of Central Inspection (OCI) shared the enforcement responsibility. OCI staff members will no longer be empowered to write citations for smoking violations.
Information about the new state law can be found at www.kssmokefree.org. Citizens who wish to report violations should call the Wichita Police Department at 316-268-4111. Although OCI will not participate in enforcement of the state law, the department will still respond to requests for information about the local ordinance or the new state law. Inquiries can be made to the OCI office at 316-268-4479.
Although the local ordinance will remain on the books, the City Council will have the subsequent opportunity to repeal, amend or take other appropriate action to coordinate city policy with the new state law.
Business establishments that have posted signs relating to the city ordinance will need to replace them with signage reflecting the state law.
The state statute stipulates that signage include the “international no-smoking symbol”, which features a cigarette in a circle with a line drawn through the cigarette, together with a clear statement that smoking is prohibited by state law.