Bullitt fiscal court’s ban on smoking in public buildings negates broader health-board ban; case worries local health directors

A smoker in the Bullitt County Judicial Center last month.
(Photo by Dana Rieber, special to The Courier-Journal)

Who should get to steer the no-smoking ship in Bullitt County? The county fiscal court passed an ordinance Wednesday night that banned smoking in public buildings but made it legal everywhere else, apparently negating the county health board’s ban on smoking in most public places, passed by board regulation. The vote was 4-1, Bailey Loosemore reports for The Courier-Journal. 

Fiscal Court members did not think the health board had the authority to pass such a regulation, and have appealed a state Court of Appeals decision to the contrary, Cedra Mayfield reports for WAVE-TV. “We all agree that an administrative body can pass regulations that regulate that administrative body, but it is the county’s position that only a legislative body can pass a law,” said Bullitt County Attorney Monic Robinson.

The effect of the ordinance on the lawsuit, now before the state Supreme Court, was not addressed by either news report. The health board could ask that the case be remanded to circuit court, where it could challenge the fiscal court’s authority. The situation worries county health directors in Kentucky, who fear fiscal courts might try to override other types of local health regulations.

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