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News Summary

Smoke free bill to be heard in House committee Saturday

Publication Date: 6/3/2011
  • Author:Erin Mulvaney
  • Publication:Dallas Morning News

The legislation to make Texas' public spaces smoke free will be heard in the House Appropriations committee Saturday.

The bill by Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, that failed in the final days of the regular legislative session may have another chance during the special session. Its language has been altered to fit under Gov. Rick Perry's call so that it states that the smoking ban is designed to reduce the state Medicaid and health costs.

It would prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars and other indoor public spaces in every corner of Texas by this fall. It marks efforts to pass it through to prevent the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers.

Certain areas would be exempt from the smoking ban, such as outdoor patios and tobacco shops. In Texas, 34 cities, which represents 45 percent of Texas' population, already have city ordinances banning smoking indoors. The state law would override those ordinances, except for cities with stricter laws.

During the regular session, it was approved by House and Senate committees but didn't make it to either floor for debate. It was successfully attached as an amendment to a fiscal matters bill but was stripped out during a conference committee.