Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Mayor delays smoking ban

by James Dunham, News Reporter

Students anticipating smoke-free bars in Madison may have to wait an extra year.

Before presiding over Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz requested Monday to delay the proposed ban on smoking in city restaurants and bars from 2005 until 2006.

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His announcement to the Madison Public Health Commission would delay the ban from beginning in 2005 and push it back to 2006. While Cieslewicz is in favor of a smoke-free Madison, he said he did not want to force bars and restaurants to abolish all smoking until 2006, anticipating problems arising from implementing the ban earlier than originally planned.

The mayor said he was unsure of numbers regarding those in favor and those opposed to the ban on the City Council, which could vote on the smoking ban as soon as mid-April. The announcement from Cieslewicz came the same day as Ald. Steve Holtzman, the major advocate of the campaign to ban smoking, held a press conference to propel the issue.

The issue, however, was not discussed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The City Council moved Tuesday night to condemn the constitutional amendment against gay marriage proposed by President Bush. City Council president Mike Verveer and Ald. Austin King, who represent most of Madison’s student population, were among the resolution’s strongest supporters. The proposed constitutional amendment would define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Eleven council members were in support, while several abstained. None voted against it.

“We represent thousands, thousands and thousands of same-sex couples,” Verveer said.

Those members in support of gay marriage wanted to voice their opinion for the record.

In his address to the council, Verveer pointed to how many of those identified as outstanding citizens and heroes would be restricted by the amendment. He had

recently spoken with many members of the police and fire departments.

“You would be surprised how many of them are openly, proudly, members of the gay community,” Verveer said.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz also spoke in support of same-sex marriage.

“I just want people to know that if I could, I would,” he said. “I just hope we can continue to make progress.”

Under Wisconsin law, Madison is presently unable to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. For this reason, they do not have the legal benefits marriage provides. Such benefits include health care for one’s partner and hospital visitation rights.

“This is not a movement for special rights, this is a movement for equal rights,” said Ald. Holtzman.

Several Madison residents addressed the council in support of the resolution, while only one person spoke against it.

Bob Bush attended Tuesday’s meeting to argue against condemning a constitutional amendment. He believed residents should vote on the resolution directly.

“If something like this is going to go through, it should go through like the casino referendum,” Bush said.

Ald. Judy Compton also wanted to give residents a chance to express their opinions. She abstained from voting because she was unsure of what her constituency wants.

“I haven’t done any polling,” she said.

Medical Marijuana Week was also passed at Tuesday’s meeting with 11 in favor and five opposed to the week, which will be celebrated March 13-21.

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