On Monday night, the city council of Mankato, Minn. rejected a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old, and by doing so, might have jeopardized a similar increase in the neighboring city of North Mankato.
The two municipalities have been struggling with proposals to raise the minimum age since last summer, with leaders from both cities considering and then delaying proposals last year, with the understanding they’d be tackled in the new year. Last week, North Mankato made the first move when its city council approved an ordinance by a 3-1 vote. However, Mayor Mark Dehen directed city staff not to publish the ordinance in the city’s official newspaper until Mankato passed its version, which in turn prevented it from going into effect.
Mankato’s mayor, Eric Anderson, had been a vocal opponent of the increase, and on Monday the council defeated the proposal by a 4-3 vote. It remains to be seen what North Mankato plans to do with its ordinance, as the council does not meet again until Feb. 20.
Mankato has a population of just under 42,000 people, while North Mankato is home to approximately 17,000 residents. The two cities are located approximately 80 miles southwest of Minneapolis.