Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.

Stop blowing smoke

Monday, February 19, 2007
Chicago Tribune

A couple of weeks ago, in the fever of the Chicago Bears playoff run, three south suburban towns temporarily lifted smoking bans that had only recently gone into effect. The towns--Orland Park, Oak Forest and Tinley Park--said they did so because local businesses complained that customers were deserting them in favor of taverns and restaurants in nearby towns that still allowed smoking.

"This was the right thing to do," said Oak Forest Mayor JoAnn Kelly. "It's a matter of public health and yet we need to be compassionate and help the bars and their patrons who smoke gradually adapt to changing times."
So now the Super Bowl is over. But unfortunately, the move by those towns has kindled a fight over Cook County's impending smoking ban.

To recap: The county ban, passed last year, is set to take effect March 15. It covers smoking in public places--including restaurants, bars and workplaces--in unincorporated areas and municipalities of Cook County unless they already have a smoke-free law. It passed with virtually no opposition.

So what's the problem? Well, Chicago's law granted taverns and restaurants with bars a grace period until July 2008 to go smoke-free. So now some county commissioners want to delay that part of the county's ban to match Chicago's.

This is an idea that deserves to be stubbed out.

Some commissioners argue that matching Chicago's timing is about fairness for restaurateurs and bar owners, who complain they may lose business to establishments just over the city line that allow smoking.

But here's something for commissioners to keep in mind: There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, according to Richard Carmona, the U.S. surgeon general. "Based on the science," Carmona said, "I wouldn't allow anyone in my family to stand in a room with someone smoking."

Chicago's grace period is too long. Delaying the county's ban compounds the city's mistake and forfeits what would be a huge and immediate gain in public health in many places.

Even if the board were to push the deadline back because of Chicago, what about competition from businesses in Will, Lake, DuPage or McHenry Counties, none of which have passed countywide smoking bans? Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman and others are right in calling for passing a statewide smoking bill. But it's not a compelling argument to turn back the clock on the county's initiative.

Even when the county ban is in force, most towns in the county still would have a choice. The county law allows them to opt out by passing their own smoking laws, which could be less restrictive than the county's. Several south and southwest suburban towns are scrambling to pass smoke-free laws now.

The County Board made the right decision last year, joining hundreds of communities across the country and around the world that are going smoke-free.

Let's stick to it.

Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.