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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.

O'Reilly confirmed, with Patch, that the litigation is regarding a ticket Strickland received for smoking on the beach.

On Tuesday, June 19, the Gulfport City Council, City Manager and City Attorney will discuss the case during a "shade meeting" at 4:30 p.m. at Gulfport City Hall. The meeting is not public.

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

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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:

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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.

Florida Statute 386.209

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.

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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:

The ban does not affect:

Kevin Mulvina July 24, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Cincinnati actually built a non smoking stadium with other people's money, primarily to serve the interests of a private for profit entity known as MLB. In California they borrowed against the future MSA payments they anticipated they would receive by the deal they cooked up with Big tobacco and today their credit potential has lost value and their rating has been downgraded because their asset is over valued. Blame the black market if you like however when the Government imposes their own agenda to an unreasonable degree, it is only human nature you will create opposition and eventually as that opposition grows face the wrath of a people being treated with less respect than they are due. At the end of the second world war people were actually pretending to smoke in defiance of Hitler. With the resounding phrase; "we only have to fear, fear itself" A tip for anyone tempted to jump on board the health-scare network, that will be targeting many of our activities in the near future. The World Health Organization has actually amassed hundreds of Public Health campaigns, ready for the nod to proceed. So what sins are you enjoying that the government and the special interests can turn into a fast buck? Our strength has always been our unity as a strong and inclusive community, don't let the opportunists mislead that unity, as a risk to you, when it legitimately represents a risk to themselves. "A risk to Public Health" [the massive for profit drug cartel]
Kevin Mulvina July 24, 2012 at 03:45 PM
So Lynda, have I exceeded your boredom level yet? How would you prescribe that I should be punished, for relaying the truths of the situation, that clearly only stand as a threat, if they make your personal lifestyle choices and opinions, awkward or inconvenient? As entitlement for a hypocrite.
mtober August 15, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I see that Mr. Strickland's lawsuit was dismissed. As I recall and please correct me if I am wrong, the case was filed in the wrong court, served on the wrong person and the time given for response was incorrect. Does anyone know if Mr. Strickland plan to refile the lawsuit properly? Just curious. Thanks.
William Smith August 24, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Lawsuit was not dismissed. Call Gulfport Attorney Salzman for the details.
William Smith August 24, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Just lawyer games being paid by Gulfport tax money to defend this needless anti-smoking crusade.

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