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Proposal to ban smoking in Indianapolis public parks could come to vote in April

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- As the weather warms up, the Indianapolis City-County Council will consider a proposal to ban smoking in public parks.

It could be as soon as next month that the proposal could advance to the point where it will be a full council vote.

The sign on the Monon Trail says what you cannot do on the trail, from speeding to having pets off-leash. Right now smoking is not on the list.

A new proposal would ban smoking in Indianapolis-owned, leased or operated parks.

"Sounds like a great idea to me, the less places you have to breathe in secondhand smoke the better," said Sean Gussick, who runs on the Monon Trail a couple times a week.

An Indy Parks spokeswoman said there are 211 parks with 11,000 acres of green space. The smoking ban was first proposed in July, but councilors said Tuesday they think it could potentially be voted on April 9.

That potential change has the stamp of approval from a local soccer coach, Alexis Catt.

"Sometimes it's more of you can just see it and that's just enough. It's not a positive influence on the kids," Catt said while practicing at an Indianapolis park with a couple kids.

The same goes for a former smoker in Kevin Woldaho, who was playing with his two dogs at a park Tuesday.

"I don't think I'd want someone smoking around her nephews or my kids," Woldaho said about the proposal.

While there has been plenty of evidence and PSA's about the dangers of smoking, a proposal like this has not always passed. Just last year in California, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill to ban smoking in state parks and beaches, saying the fines were too high and that the ban was not the job of the government.

To advance for that April 9 vote, the proposal would have to pass through a rules and public policy committee on April 3.

The Indy Parks spokeswoman said the department is working with the council about how this would be implemented, if it gets approved.


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