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Thursday, March 16, 2006
Special to

March 16, 2006, Chicago, IL.  Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D- 13th District) is a co-sponsor of the following two measures which were approved at the Board’s meeting on March 15, 2006.  Both ordinances seek to protect the public’s health and welfare.

First, the Cook County Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, as amended, bans smoking in public places throughout Cook County, unless the local municipality has a non-smoking ordinance of its own.  Passing this comprehensive legislation means that citizens will be protected from smoke-filled rooms and the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

On the smoking ban, Commissioner Suffredin stated, “The passage of the Cook County Clean Indoor Air Ordinance will unquestionably improve the health and well being of the public, as well as the county’s fiscal strength.  Banning smoking in public reduces the incidence of cancer and other lung disease and alleviates the burden placed on the county’s healthcare system to treat such illnesses.  This will result in cost-savings for the county’s health care system.  The Ordinance, as amended, gives businesses one year to comply with its terms and affords local municipalities’ time to pass their own smoking related legislation, should they choose to do so.”

Second, Commissioner Suffredin led the way to pass the Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Ordinance.  This legislation gives commercial and residential building workers, such as doormen, engineers and maintenance staff who are represented by labor organizations, temporary protection against layoffs when a building is sold or comes under new management.  The work of the building service staff is paramount to the safety of a building’s residents and patrons.  They are often the only ones on site who are familiar with a building’s operations, safety procedures and equipment should an emergency or other disaster occur.

“When a building’s ownership or management changes hands, a period of review and retention of these important employees is necessary to ensure that the safety of building occupants will not be compromised during the ownership transition,” stated Commissioner Suffredin, who added, “Similar measures in other cities, such as New York City, have had a positive impact on the lives of building service workers and their families, as well as on the City’s commercial real estate industry, as it has brought greater stability to the service that tenants, residents and unit owners depend on.  I am confident that we will see the same result in Cook County.”

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