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Smoking Ban in Park Central Square Passes at City Council Meeting

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- City Council passes three of four bills pertaining to downtown Springfield, including panhandling, smoking, and skateboarding.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- City Council passes three of four bills pertaining to downtown Springfield, including panhandling, smoking, and skateboarding.

It will soon be illegal to smoke at Springfield's Park Central Square.
   
Monday night the City Council passed a ban, which created a "tobacco-free zone" in the square.

Three of the four proposed downtown bills passed at the meeting.

The smoking ban in the square passed seven to two.

The ban on skateboarding in the downtown mall passed eight to one.

And the item with the most discussion, a ban on panhandling in Springfield, passed.

But not before an amendment that changed it to ban passive panhandling within five feet of a curb.

The major debate was the constitutionality of panhandling, freedom of speech, versus ensuring the safety of those who ask for money by major roadways and intersections.

The smoking, skateboarding, and panhandling bans will be enforced starting in February.

The fourth downtown bill that would have required a permit for food distribution downtown was tabled until January of 2015.

The council also approved a contract to have a National Guard analyst work with the Springfield Police Department.
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