I was reading some of the anti-smoking stories from around the state and I kept coming across the same theme. It is captured in this quote I found in the Standard Times: "They can't say that the government is telling them what to do because they are telling them what to do, the voters themselves, its by the people. The people are the ones that are going to say whether it goes smoke free. Its the voters of San Angelo," by Carol Kahutek of Smoke Free San Angelo. This is a total misrepresentation of this petition and the governments roll here.
To begin with, this initiative is a request from a small committee for the local government to regulate smoking city wide. The signed petitions are the procedure needed to put the measure on the ballot of an election so the city government can get voter reaction. If a majority of those voters favor the petition, the government will turn the proposal into an ordinance and assume the authority and responsibility for this new law, just like they do with every other ordinance on the books. They will use the new law to tell people what to do.
At every step in this process, the government has been at the center. This is not the government not telling us what to do. This is one small group of people trying to convince a majority of voters to force the government to impose their will on another group of people. This is all about trying to force the government to tell an unpopular minority what to do.