Lawsuit Challenges Smoking Ban
The Gulfport City Council will meet to discuss a lawsuit filed by St. Petersburg attorney Andy Strickland regarding the ticket he received for smoking on the beach.
St. Petersburg attorney Andy Strickland filed a lawsuit against the City of Gulfport regarding a citation he received for smoking on the beach on April 21.
Strickland did not provide any further details about the case. Strickland told Patch, in a previous story, that he wanted to challenge the ban in court.
City Attorney Jim O'Reilly confirmed, with Patch, that the litigation is regarding a ticket Strickland received for smoking on the beach.
According to the agenda, the case is titled: Andy G. Strickland, Petitioner, vs. the City of Gulfport, Florida, a Municipal Corporation, and the State of Florida, Respondents, Case No. 12-4167-CO-40
About "Shade" Meetings
A closed attorney-client meeting is permitted under Fla. Stat. s. 286.011(8):
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), any board or commission of any state agency or authority or any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, and the chief administrative or executive officer of the governmental entity, may meet in private with the entity’s attorney to discuss pending litigation to which the entity is presently a party before a court or administrative agency, provided that the following conditions are met:
Andy Strickland has been trying to challenge the smoking ban for the past six months.
He deliberatly lit up a cigar on Gulfport Beach three times in order to receive a citation. Strickland first held a "smoke in" in January but was not cited due to the lack of proper signage of the new ordinance. In February he was cited, but the charges were dropped by the city. Then, in April, Strickland, joined by several supporters, was ticketed for smoking a cigar on the beach.
Strickland told Patch that he believes that the ban is illegal and unconstitutional.
According to a Florida Statute, the regulation of smoking is up to the state, not local governments, he said.
Regulation of smoking preempted to state. This part expressly preempts regulation of smoking to the state and supersedes any municipal or county ordinance on the subject; however, school districts may further restrict smoking by persons on school district property.
About the Ordinance:
Gulfport City Council voted 5-0 to pass a smoking ban on the beach, athletic fields and facilities and playgrounds in the city on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
The ban affects the following locations in Gulfport:
- Gulfport Beach (shoreline from the Rec Center to the Casino)
- Gulfport Recreation Center's playgrounds and outdoor basketball court
- Gulfport Little League Complex
- Hoyt Field Baseball Field
- Tomlinson Park Skateboard Park and children's playground
- Chase Park tennis Courts
- Chase Park children's playground
- Caldwell Park children's playground
The ban does not affect: