The following were among actions taken at the Jan. 19 meeting of the District of Columbia Council.
SMOKING RESTRICTIONS -- The council gave final approval to a bill requiring restaurants to designate 25 percent of their seating areas as nonsmoking.
New restaurants and those undergoing renovation would be required to set aside 50 percent of their seats in nonsmoking areas. Taverns and nightclubs are exempt from the law.
The council rejected amendments offered by Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood-At Large), that would have put many of the nonsmoking bill's original provisions back into the bill, including proposed bans on smoking in the workplace and in retail businesses.
After Mason introduced the original bill last May, the Committee on Public Works deleted the proposed bans in the workplace and in retail establishments.
Mason, John Ray (D-At Large), Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3), Wilhelmina Rolark (D-Ward 8) and Chairman David Clarke (D) voted for the workplace and retail bans, which were defeated. The council's final vote to pass the bill was 9 to 1, with Mason and John Wilson (D-Ward 2) abstaining.
"Some cities have had the courage to move forward to handle this deadly health problem," said Ray. "People have a right to smoke. They don't have a right to kill me while they are smoking."
Nadine Winter (D-Ward 6), chairwoman of the public works committee, said: "I hate smoke. I hate cigarettes. /. /. I would ban their manufacture." But, she added that, as a politician, she believed in compromises, so she supported the revised, but weaker bill.
BICYCLE COURIER PERMITS -- The council passed a bill requiring bicycle couriers to be licensed and to pass a safety test before receiving a license.
Winter introduced the legislation last year, spurred by complaints about the dangerous maneuvers of some bicycle messengers in traffic and on sidewalks.
The licenses would have the bicyclist's photo and employer's name and address. The council has recommended that the licenses cost up to $50 per year. But that decision is left to the city administration, which must write regulations and determine fines and enforcement procedures.
The law would require that all couriers receive a license within 180 days after the legislation is signed by Mayor Marion Barry.
PARKING TASK FORCE -- The council voted 7 to 4 to create a 17-member task force to ensure that the city complies with a law requiring construction of more municipal parking lots to ease neighborhood traffic and parking problems. Though the law was passed in 1980, the city never built the lots. The council hopes the new task force will force the administration to follow the law. The task force, to be appointed by the council and the mayor, must recommend parking lot sites within one year.