City discusses changes to ‘air purification’ regulations

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Roswell City Council Legal Committee members want to consider a few options to update the city’s smoking regulations in public places and on construction sites so that the rules include cannabis, e-cigarettes and vaping. At Thursday’s meeting are, clockwise from left, President Judy Stubbs, Barry Foster and Jason Perry. (Photo by Lisa Dunlap)

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The City of Roswell wants to update its second-hand smoke regulations to include cannabis, e-cigarettes and vaping devices and possibly move regulations from the nuisance section of the city code to the rights section. the person.

The suggested updates would also increase the potential fines people could incur for breaking city law.

Community Development Director Kevin Maevers led the review effort, which he says is being undertaken in part to reflect changes to the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act, a state law originally passed in 2007 but changed several times.

The other reason for the suggested changes, he said in public meetings, is to ensure the city’s clean air rules are consistent with the city’s recently adopted cannabis chapter. . Chapter 27 was passed by city councilors on August 12 after public hearings as a way to regulate licensed activities after the New Mexico legislature legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana earlier this year.

Maevers recommended the repeal of the Roswell Smoke Free Air Act, which corresponds to section 9 of Chapter 16 of the Roswell City Code. This chapter is called “Nuisances”. Rather, he suggests passing the Roswell Clean Air Act as section five of chapter 14 of the city code. Chapter 14 is entitled “Human rights and human resources”.

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“This is no longer a nuisance ordinance,” Maevers said. “We are not saying that smoking is a nuisance. It’s about having clean air available for everyone.

But possible changes at this point are still under discussion, as members of the Roswell City Council Legal Committee have twice decided to suspend a vote that would convey the matter to the entire city council.

At her last meeting on Thursday, President Judy Stubbs asked Maevers and City Attorney Parker Patterson to offer two alternatives to city council members at a future meeting. One would be the Clean Air Act option that they already considered on Thursday and October 28. The other would be a simpler modified version of the nuisance section of the city code to incorporate cannabis, vaping and e-cigarettes.

“Originally, when we wrote this (the nuisance chapter section), we wrote something that was drafted to be as close to state law as possible,” she said. declared. “There seemed to be a good reason at the time and continuing to do so. I’m always so concerned about swerving with all that extra language that we’re not preparing for trouble. “

She later said she had not decided whether the revisions – whatever they were – should be placed in the nuisance chapter or the human rights chapter.

She and other committee members also suggested several changes to the drafts presented to them during the two meetings.

The intention of the new regulations, according to city documents, is to improve and update regulations that prohibit smoking in public facilities and in shared areas of construction sites or work vehicles. A few exceptions would be allowed with the appropriate permits, such as outdoor smoking areas provided by employers.

The suggested revisions would also increase the caps that could be imposed on violations. Currently, people who break the rules can be cited for a minor misdemeanor and fined $ 50. Under the proposed revisions, the fine would increase to $ 150.

Penalties for property owners or managers would include a possible minor misdemeanor charge with fines capped at $ 250 for the first violation and $ 500 for subsequent violations. Currently, the caps are $ 100 for the first violation and $ 200 for subsequent violations.

Patterson stressed that final decisions on penalties would rest with a judge.

“The judge might decide, well, I actually want to fine you $ 50 or postpone it all together.” What that means is that the judge couldn’t fine you over $ 150 (as an individual) for smoking in a place where you shouldn’t smoke.

The revisions are expected to be considered at the next Legal Committee meeting on November 18.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at [email protected]


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