Health Board Supports Smoking Ban



The Madison County Health Board voted Wednesday night to support a statewide smoking ban being considered by the General Assembly.

The bill would prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment. Private residences, unless used as child or adult day cares, would be exempt.

The legislation, House Bill 173, was approved by a House of Representatives committee Thursday in a 10-3 vote. The next step will be for the bill to be heard and voted on by the full Democratic-controlled House, according to the Associated Press.

The Madison County Health Board will be joining a coalition of almost 500 organizations and individuals who support the ban, spokesperson Christy Green said. Those groups include hospitals, health departments and medical associations.

The local health board was the first in Kentucky to pass a countywide workplace and public space smoking ban regulation in 2007 over the opposition of some residents and restaurant owners. E-cigarettes were added to the ban in 2011.

Finance Director David Reed reported on health department and MEPCO finances through the end of December. The health department was $711,000 in the black while MEPCO, the board’s home health agency, had an operating deficit of $34,500.

The board voted  6-4 to invest $2 million in health department reserve funds in bonds equally between three investment advising companies – Edward Jones, Van Leeuwen Associates and US Bancorp. Reed said splitting the investment would foster competition and yield better interest rates while also reducing risk.

The health department’s reserve fund totals $4.4 million. All the money had previously been held in checking accounts, which earn only about 0.1 percent interest, according to Reed.

The board also conducted an annual evaluation of Public Health Director Nancy Crewe and several board members voiced their approval of Crewe’s job performance. The board voted for each member to fill out an evaluation form for submission to the board chair. – See more at: