Smoking Ban Heads for House Floor
Committee makes only minor changes, but battle looms on casinos, bars
A statewide smoking ban is headed for a vote in the House next week.
The ban sailed through the House Public Health Committee 9-3, without any attempt to add exemptions other than one for retail tobacco shops, added by the authors themselves.
Co-author Charlie Brown (D-Gary) says the real battle will come on the House floor, with bars fighting for an exemption, and casinos lobbying to expand theirs from the gaming floor to their entire property. But Brown says he remains confident sponsors have the right combination this year.
Along with gaming floors and tobacco shops, the bill's only exemptions are for cigar and hookah bars, and for adults-only social clubs that vote to allow smoking.
If the ban does pass the House, it'll go to the Senate Public Policy Committee -- the same panel which overwhelmingly killed the bill last year. President Pro Tem David Long notes health advocates insisted on a bill with no exceptions last year -- if they continue to support this year's version, he says the bill may fare better.
All committee Democrats joined four of the seven Republicans in approving the bill.
MORE FROM WIBC NEWS:
» Smoking Ban Debate Shapes Up As Battle Over Exemptions (1-9-12)
» Proposed State Smoking Ban Would Include Bars (1-5-12)