Austin City Council looks to ban e-cigs in public places

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thursday’s city council meeting will have a later start time and begin at 2 p.m. rather than 10 a.m. Here are some of the items of interest on the agenda:

Expanding smoking ordinance to include E-cigs 
Right now, 10 states and hundreds of communities, including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and Waco have prohibited e-cigarette use in the same places where smoking is already prohibited. Approval of this resolution would direct the city manager to draft amendments to the city code and add electronic smoking devices to the list where smoking is prohibited in public places.

Exploring drainage fee changes 
City council could ask the city manager to explore options related to the drainage charge. Back in 2015, city council approved a new way to assess drainage charges and make it more proportional to the impact each property has on the city’s drainage system. It’s based on a property’s impervious cover, like driveways, where rain cannot sink into the ground. When there are multiple units on a property, such as a duplex, the city divides the drainage charge evenly among the units. This resolution would look at charging those customers based on their individual use and explore a billing cap for certain elderly and fixed-income customers who may have experienced a larger increase with the change in how bills are calculated.

Creation of a Student Commission
Approval of this resolution would direct the city manager to create a Student Commission. The group would make recommendations to city council on topics that affect higher-education students, such as transportation, housing, affordability, immigration, and public safety. The city manager would work with local higher education institutions to form the commission.

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