Regulatory Authority

Regulatory authority challenges to smokefree ordinances apply only to localities that choose to pass smokefree ordinances by bodies other than city or county councils. Usually this means ordinances passed by health boards or other health-related commissions. Challenges often come based on the theory that a state legislature has withheld substantive authority from a board of health or other agency to enact regulations not explicitly contemplated within their statutory grant. In other words, the argument is that the state does not allow local agencies to pass smokefree ordinances.

Several states have had ordinances passed by health boards subsequently revoked by court decisions stating that the board overstepped it's authority. That places the locality back to square one, without smokefree protection. Always review applicable state laws regarding the scope of health boards and agencies before working with them to pass a smokefree ordinance.