The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Hurley amends tobacco, gambling ordinances


September 11, 2019


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HURLEY, Wis. — The Hurley City Council on Tuesday added vaping to the juvenile tobacco use ban and revised three gaming ordinances.

The council 5-0 approved amending the city ordinance prohibiting individuals under the age of 18 from purchasing or possessing tobacco and nicotine products to include vaping paraphernalia. Aldermen Jay Aijala was not present.

There was no discussion on the ordinance but the language noted it had been possible for juveniles to legally purchase some alternative nicotine delivery products that are not regulated the same as tobacco and lack health warnings regarding high nicotine content of e-liquids or the presence of other toxic substances.

The ordinance stated that the intent was to have consistent and uniform enforcement of smoke-free laws. The changes reduce the possibility for minors to associate the use of vaping products and devices with a normal or healthy lifestyle.

The ordinance stated the, “City of Hurley Common Council determines that prohibiting the sale, furnishing or giving away of vapor devices and products to minors and prohibiting the possession, purchasing and use of such devises and products is in the public interest and will promote the public health, safety and welfare.”

The council also 5-0 approved to amend a city ordinance to clarify the definition of gambling, according to Wisconsin law, which allows only the state lottery, charitable raffles and bingo, tribal casinos, on-track parimutuel betting, promotional sweepstakes and contests. The council also updated the video gaming ordinance for establishments with five or fewer machines to define the consequences of using them to award prizes of value according to state law.

In a Community Code Service letter to the council, attorney Alan Harvey, of DeForest, Wisconsin, said the state legislature has rejected expanding legal gambling. The state has maintained that video gaming is illegal, but will only pursue felony charges at establishments with more than five gaming machines. The letter said the civil forfeiture penalties for five or fewer machines paying out is difficult to enforce without a local ordinance that reflects state law.

Harvey’s letter said that scarce law enforcement resources make it difficult to pursue victimless gaming crimes of paying out with five machines or less. A clear ordinance will help secure proof that will stand up in court.

“What really needs to occur is for the legislature to clean up the statutes in this area and have a more realistic approach,” Harvey said in the letter. “Present state law is obviously a compromise.”

The council also added a social host responsibility ordinance to enforce against parents or legal guardians who knowingly host an underage drinking occasion with an assembly of three or more people. The ordinance also includes failing to prevent juvenile drinking events when aware they are occurring.

Underage drinking is a significant problem across Wisconsin, Harvey said in a letter to the board. The language of local ordinances have sometimes presented questionable legality or have been a barrier to prosecution.

The council adopted an ordinance on special meetings that allows for optional notification by means other than written notice.

Mayor Paul Mullard said after the meeting the ordinance addresses electronic communications. The ordinance still complies with Wisconsin open meetings laws.

In the street commissioner’s report, Mark Bluse said that no city hall roof bids were received by the deadline. He said the bid notice was sent out at a time when contractors are extremely busy and will hold a 10 a.m. meeting today to see what is possible.

“We are going to have our plan B meeting,” Bluse said.

In other business, the council approved:

—Seven bartender license applications.

—Participating with the Midland Co-op’s Cash for Kids Program.

—Hiring a full time employee for the street department

—A resolution to authorize the Urban Forestry grant application.

—A resolution adopting the Iron County Outdoor Recreation Plan.

—To repeal and adopt the city ordinance on public depositories.

Exempting contractors that donate improvements from low bid requirements.


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