Councilman R. Craig Scott's attempt to strengthen the state's new anti-smoking law with a ban on smoking in all Laguna Hills bars failed this week when only one council member supported his proposal.
Scott's motion at Thursday's council meeting failed 3 to 2, with Scott and Councilman Randal J. Bressette voting in favor. Mayor Joel T. Lautenschleger and Councilwomen Melody Carruth and Cindy Greengold voted against it.
"The council has identified tobacco smoke as a public health hazard," said Scott, who was the primary backer of the city's 1993 tough anti-smoking law. "Bars are a workplace just like restaurants."
State law bans smoking in all enclosed workplaces, except for bars, businesses with five or fewer employees, and other work sites. Bars are exempt until Jan. 1, 1997, or until state or federal agencies establish ventilation standards for bars, whichever comes first.
The council approved Scott's motion to prohibit smoking in offices with five or fewer employees. Lautenschleger voted against that proposal.
"I understand the public health issue . . . but I would like to see this ordinance stay the way it is," Lautenschleger said.
The issue will again come before the council on Jan. 24 after council members Bressette, Carruth and Greengold said they wanted public testimony from bar and restaurant owners.