Pennsylvania’s Secondhand Smoke Loopholes; Dangerous Highway Guardrails?

Cheryl Casey /

Here is today’s State & Local news roundup for Wednesday, October 29, 2014 ...

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania: Anti-smoking advocates say that loopholes in Pennsylvania’s workplace smoking ban are exposing employees who work in bars and casinos to harmful secondhand smoke. Legislation to close those loopholes is stuck in a state committee, David Templeton reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But at this point I think it’s an uphill battle,” Tobacco Free Allegheny COO Joyce Petrow. “It simply is a low priority, and I think other things are capturing legislators’ attention at the moment.”

SANTA BARBARA, California: Local leaders in major centers of tourism in California are trying to figure out how to rein in aggressive, unruly homeless travelers whose “gritty edge and sometimes violent tendencies” are increasingly worrisome, according to Amanda Covarrubias of the Los Angeles Times. Some cities have hired private security guards and installing security cameras, but many fiscally challenged communities simply don’t have the resources to take effective measures to address issues of homelessness.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa: Does your state use ET-Plus guardrails along highways? After safety concerns with the design of the guardrail prompted a handful of states to remove them or ban them, B.A. Morelli of The Gazette reports that state transportation officials in Iowa have decided to wait for the results of new crash safety tests before taking any decisive action. “There’s thousands of these systems out there nationwide. The issue is what do we do with all existing ones,” the director of traffic and safety at the Iowa Department of Transportation tells The Gazette.

DENVER, Colorado: Local law enforcement in Colorado’s capital city raided a handful of marijuana-growing operations on Tuesday, apparently part of an investigation into illegal marijuana sales in Minnesota. Although a federal law enforcement official told The Denver Post that the operation was successful, very little information about the raid was disclosed. One of the sites raided is located in a warehouse area of Denver popular with state-sanctioned marijuana-growing operations. But that area is also a place where illegal grow sites have set up shop, too, the Post reported.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Members of a City Council committee approved a cat nuisance cat ordinance on Tuesday, but not everyone thinks what was passed is very good legislation. “We’ve been looking for a perfect solution forever, and we haven’t even come close to finding it. This is a measure toward some solution. It may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than doing nothing,” one Charleston council member said, according to Rachel Molenda of the Charleston Gazette. But the ordinance doesn’t address feral cats and requires the city to first establish ownership of nuisance cats.

(Image via Cheryl Casey/


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