Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Grayson County Attorney Jeremy Logsdon reads an option for a county-wide smoking ordinance during Tuesday's Grayson County Fiscal Court meeting.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Grayson County Attorney Jeremy Logsdon reads an option for a county-wide smoking ordinance during Tuesday's Grayson County Fiscal Court meeting.

The Grayson County Fiscal Court on Tuesday voted to move forward with drafting an ordinance that would prohibit smoking, as well as the use of e-cigarettes and vaping, inside certain public places throughout the county.

At the request of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center CEO Wayne Meriwether and pharmacist Trevor Ray, chairman of the hospital's board of directors, the fiscal court was asked earlier this year to consider passing a countywide smoke-free ordinance.

Hospital officials addressed the a previous fiscal court on this issue a number of years ago, but, while a motion was made, it died for lack of a second, so Meriwether would, over the years that followed, go to the cities of Leitchfield, Clarkson and Caneyville individually to request that they pass smoke-free ordinances within their respective cities.

This effort proved successful as each city passed smoke-free ordinances, ranging in scope from prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places, with a few exceptions such as private clubs (Leitchfield) to prohibiting smoking in city buildings only (Caneyville).

Then this year, with an entirely new fiscal court, as well as a new judge-executive in office, Meriwether returned to address county government and request the passage of a countywide smoke-free ordinance — something, he said, would solidify that the county wishes to provide clean air to and, in consequence, improved health for its residents.

Additionally, Meriwether said, a countywide smoking ordinance would cover any areas not under the umbrella of the cities' ordinances (such as in Caneyville where businesses are exempt from the city's smoke-free ordinance).

The fiscal court, last month, asked Grayson County Attorney Jeremy Logsdon to draft multiple versions of ordinances for county government to review, and he provided three options to the magistrates during Tuesday's fiscal court meeting.

The first ordinance would prohibit smoking in all public places, enclosed places, work places, and within 15 feet of public playgrounds and events. The second ordinance was modeled after that of Daviess County, which prohibits smoking inside enclosed public places that allow persons under the age of 18 to enter. The third ordinance would prohibit smoking in only county-owned or operated buildings.

Logsdon said all ordinances would impose a $50 fine for anyone found in violation of them, and business owners who permit smoking could be fined to a greater degree or possibly receive an injunction from the court system to shut down their business if the activity is permitted to continue over a period of time.

The ordinance would be primarily enforced by the Grayson County Sheriff's Office, but the county attorney's office, health department, and/or fire departments could also take complaints, Logsdon said.

After Logsdon presented the ordinances, the floor was opened to the magistrates in attendance for discussion. First District Magistrate Robby Higdon and 2nd District Magistrate Darin Whitely were not in attendance at Tuesday's meeting.

Fifth District Magistrate Brian Ashley said many people do not want to be told what they can and cannot do in their business, and 4th District Magistrate Damon Hornback said he believes it should be the business owner's right to say whether smoking should be permitted in their business.

Third District Magistrate Tommy Higdon said that, after speaking with several of his constituents, more of them were in favor of a countywide smoking ordinance than were not.

Meriwether said that, as evidenced by K's Cafe in Clarkson, prohibiting smoking inside businesses does not have a detrimental effect on a business but, instead, can have the opposite effect.

Higdon first motioned to move forward with the first option, but it was voted down, 3-2. Grayson County Judge-Executive Kevin Henderson voted against this ordinance to break a tie between Higdon and 6th District Magistrate Neal Saltsman, who voted in favor of it, and Hornback and Ashley, who voted against it.

The second option was then brought to a vote with the recommendation that language be included to regulate the use of e-cigarettes and vaping in addition to smoking, and it passed on a 3-2 vote with Henderson breaking the tie in favor of the ordinance. Higdon and Saltsman voted in favor of the ordinance, and Hornback and Ashley voted against it.

Henderson said he voted in favor of the second option because it is less restrictive on businesses. He felt the first option was too stringent.

Following the vote, Logsdon will draft an official copy of the county's smoke-free ordinance, and the fiscal court will tentatively hear the first and second readings of it during its meetings in May. After the second reading, the fiscal court will then vote on whether to adopt the ordinance and implement the smoking restrictions.