Local Authority Resolution Project (2004-2005)

LARP's goal was to support the effort to protect New Jersey local governments against challenges to their authority for protecting public health. Some lawsuits had arisen as the smokefree air movement gained momentum. Eleven New Jersey municipalities were sued by the tobacco industry for their vending machine bans, and, though all the towns prevailed, East Brunswick fought all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court to protect its ordinance. In June, 2000, Princeton passed New Jersey's first comprehensive smokefree indoor air ordinance for workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars. But the Township and Borough were sued by the tobacco industry, two restaurants and a bar. In September 2000, the Mercer County Superior Court struck down Princeton's ordinance, ruling that state law preempted (prohibited) Princeton's local legislation.

GASP developed the LARP project to ask local governments, health organizations, and others to pass a resolution supporting the authority of local governments to enact smokefree indoor air legislation. GASP tracked the enacted resolutions by local governments, statewide organizations, civic groups, religious congregations, businesses, and others. There were over 350 supporting resolutions passed.

The LARP project results were shared with NJ State legislators who were considerining passage of the 2006 NJ SFAA. LARP was instrumental in educating policymakers and the public about the need to authorize local towns to enact local tobacco control laws.

Partners in this project included the New Jersey League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Local Boards of Health Association, New Jersey GASP, the New Jersey Prevention Network and its county Community Against Tobacco coalitions, and New Jersey Health Officers Association, and New Jersey Breathes, the statewide coalition with more than 50 members including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the Medical Society of New Jersey.

Last update: 2/11/07