Smoking restriction bill passed by senate
Issues discussed at the first Student Government Association meeting of the 2012 spring semester included a bill for smoke free environments at the University of Houston — which was passed by a 16-6 vote, — student government elections, and proposal of a stipend for student teachers.
The University bill for smoke-free surroundings on campus has been on the SGAs plate since the fall of 2011. It is not intended to outlaw smoking on campus, but make the environment healthier for non-smoking students.
Initially the smoking ban was not widely accepted by the members of the SGA, primarily because of the way the bill was first proposed, according to communications and political science senior Michael McHugh.
He went on to say that the bill was first designed to ban smoking on campus entirely. Students and faculty would have faced tough consequences for violation of the ban and even visitors found smoking would be escorted off campus.
“I don’t think this (bill) would’ve passed last semester. It’s the first day back, and many members didn’t see any frustration with the bill, which led to a speedy (pass),” McHugh said.
The bill proposes implementing a 25-foot minimum distance from campus buildings for smokers and 35-foot distance for ash receptacles, as opposed to the 15-foot distance already in effect.
According to the text of the bill, implementation also involves no-smoking signs being posted “at appropriate places throughout (campus) buildings,” with each sign displaying the UH Fire Department and UH Dispatch numbers on it.
Enforcement of this policy may be somewhat challenging for students, faculty and campus authorities.
According to the bill, the success of the policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, cooperation and consideration of smokers and non-smokers alike.
Also mentioned at the meeting was the prospect of providing stipends for student teachers at UH.
The bill is a response, in part, to the lack of any compensation and the strict restrictions placed on when and how long the student teachers are allowed to work, according to the bill text. This leaves them with limited means to acquire money for goods and services they may need.