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News Summary

Kansas bill would trump local smoking bans

Publication Date: 2010-02-11
  • Publication:Kansas City (MO) Star

Legislation in Kansas would replace local public smoking bans with a weaker statewide prohibition that would allow bars and restaurants to opt out by paying a fee.

Supporters call it a compromise, but the idea angers groups that have long fought for a statewide ban on indoor public smoking.

"It takes us backward," said Kansas first lady Stacy Parkinson, a leading advocate of a statewide ban. "It's a slap in the face to public health."

The bill, HB 2642, would permit bars and restaurants to allow smoking in separately ventilated areas of their businesses--if they agree to pay the state $1 for each square foot of smoking section. Establishments could also allow smoking throughout their businesses, but minors would not be allowed to enter...

But even if the new House bill passes both chambers this year, it could face a veto by Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat who favors a stronger ban.

Stacy Parkinson said she would "absolutely" encourage a veto if the bill reached the governor.