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News Summary

Bosma offers Indiana smoking ban in time for Super Bowl

Publication Date: 12/15/2011
  • Author:Mary Beth Schneider
  • Publication:Indianapolis Star

Legislation to ban smoking in most Indiana bars and restaurants could be given “fast track” treatment in order to enact something before the Feb. 5 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said this morning.

Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and other legislative leaders addressed the issue at a legislative conference this morning. While most of the debate among legislative leaders focused on the contentious issue of the so-called “right to work” proposal, Bosma said other issues will come up in the session that begins Jan. 4.

A smoking ban is on that list, he said, though “right to work” -- which bans companies and unions from negotiating a contract which imposes fees on non-members -- is the top Republican priority.

Bosma said the failure ofthe City-County Council this week to enact a smoking ban puts pressure on the legislature to act before the Super Bowl.

But a smoking ban has failed in the legislature in recent years, with a watered-down version that exempts veterans’ clubs and nursing homes passing the House but failing to even get out of committee in the Senate.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said lawmakers have to find the “sweet spot” of compromise on a smoking ban. But House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, said its the piling on of exceptions that have contributed to killing the bill in the past.

Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, said she’d prefer a ban, but would vote for whatever can get through. She noted that Bloomington bans smoking in public places and that bars there -- the home of Indiana University -- are doing “a land-office business.”