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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Council members propose ordinances

Last Modified: Saturday, February 01, 2014 12:47 PM

By Justin B. Phillips / American Press

A handful of ordinances were proposed at the end of Thursday’s City Council agenda meeting by a pair of council members. Councilwoman Mary Morris began the round of introductions by addressing three local issues.

“The first resolution is asking the city, the public works department, to pick up trash and debris from adjudicated properties for the following reason: a possible savings of $115 per lot,” Morris said. “This is being paid to the contractors for the hauling and disposing of the trash and debris.”

Morris said the city could save the $75 paid to remove the trash and debris and the $40 spent to haul it. She said she was introducing the ordinance so the city could research the matter.

Morris’ second ordinance proposal focused on the City Council meetings themselves and possibly broadcasting them to a wider audience.

“Number two is a resolution requesting the city of Lake Charles to meet the criteria for airing City Council meetings on the Calcasieu Government Channel, C-GOV,” Morris said. “This would be an opportunity for citizens to access City Council meetings.”

The program requirements are listed on the Calcasieu Police Jury website at www.cppj.net. For example, requirement No. 6 in the section titled “Programming Eligibility” says the “programming shall be direct, non-editorial information regarding the operation and deliberations of local government and other public affairs. The Channel shall not serve as a mechanism for building support for a particular policy, program or issue.”

Morris’ third proposal addressed the local job market and creating a competitive pay scale for workers. Morris said the raise would improve the quality of life for minimum-wage workers and provide the city with a more confident working class.

“Number three is a resolution requesting the city of Lake Charles raise the minimum wage for its employees to $9.50 based on the following reasons. It moves our city employees to a living wage and not having a poverty wage,” Morris said. “It enables our city employees to raise families that contribute to the community by paying taxes. It enables our city employees to provide health insurance for their families.”

Morris went on to describe how the raise in wages could pay for education for the workers and possibly decrease employee turnover.

“Many of our employees have $7.75 to $8 an hour, so this would give us an opportunity to move forward to raising the minimum wage for our employees,” Morris said.

After Morris presented her items, councilman Dana Jackson discussed the increasingly popular electronic cigarette and how some form of restrictions need to be placed on how and where the product is used.

“Let’s make an ordinance that e-cigarettes will be treated the same way as regular cigarettes. They can’t smoke them inside the restaurants. Just like cigarettes, they’d be treated the same exact way. If you run across them, you can smell them good,” Jackson said. “I don’t know about the tar and stuff in them, but from what they say, they are running way more nicotine than a regular cigarette.”

The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking. It functions by using a heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution that contains a mix of nicotine and flavorings. Some just have a flavored vapor without the nicotine. The items can purchased easily online, and many are concerned that they may appeal to kids. The concerns are one of the reasons the council should consider the ordinance, Jackson said.

“It’s attractive to young kids, they’re saying, and I know we smelled them the other night when we were eating at a restaurant. If you smell them, it has got to be putting out something,” he said. “I think the USDA is still struggling over who’s trying to do the test and what else. I don’t see a reason we couldn’t just go ahead and put it in and enact it now.”

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