Made of two City Council members, several business leaders and other residents with varying views on the issue, Meridian's special smoking ordinance committee has decided to adhere to the original plan to ban smoking in public buildings in the city, but with one change.
"The change to that ordinance was that restaurants be given 12 months to modify their ventilation systems to be smoke free, and that was the only change to that, so that is what will be presented to the council," says committee chairwoman Barbara Henson.
Basically, this means that businesses have one year to create a separate room for smokers, which must have a separate ventilation system from the rest of the building.
The committee's proposal also calls for people to smoke at least 25 feet away from a public building. So far, the proposal is getting mixed reviews.
"We think that the City Council [is] taking the right steps to save the lives of the citizens of Meridian," says Dana Luquire with the American Cancer Society.
"I think this is a good thing health-wise, but I think that this takes away too much power from business owners," says committee member Grae Dickson, who is also the manager of Crescent City Grill in Meridian.
Although the committee reaching an agreement is a major step, this measure is still not law. The City Council still has to vote on the issue. This is something which it is expected to do at its first meeting next month on April 5 at 9 a.m.