Will Civil Disobedience Play In Peoria?

Published October 6, 2008

Letter to the Editor: Peoria Journal Star

Comedian Richard Pryor was infamous for smashing the sacred cows of American culture in ludicrous fashion. Although his hometown later underwent political convulsions over naming a street in his honor, Pryor would find solace in the recent ruling that the “tickets” being issued to violators of Illinois’ statewide smoking ban are not worth the paper on which they are written.

On September 30, Bureau County Associate Judge Cornelius Hollerich ruled the Smoke Free Illinois Act unenforceable by ruling that circuit courts had no jurisdiction to handle violations of the act (“Judge snuffs out state smoking ban cases,” Peoria Journal Star). The judge non-suited a ticket issued by municipal authorities to a patron in a local tavern for violating the prohibition on inside smoking. In the aftermath of the ruling, the defendant’s Peoria lawyer said “There should be no more arrests for smoking.”

Pryor was an irreverent champion for “second-class citizens” like smokers. Illinois tobacco users should mimic the defiance of Pryor with expanded civil disobedience campaigns advocating “lighting up” inside “public places.” Private property owners and entrepreneurs are enduring persecution from politicians serving as social engineers enforcing the junk science of health care bureaucrats by wielding their toothless smoke police against the body politic.

Taxpayers offering billowing clouds of resistance to these unenforceable unjust laws may be just the remedy Illinois needs to force repeal of the Smoke Free Illinois Act right now.


Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is the local legislation manager at The Heartland Institute.