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News Summary

Statewide smoking ban bill to be heard Monday

Publication Date: 1/5/2012
  • Author:Chelsea Schneider Kirk
  • Publication:Sun-Times Media

An Indiana House committee will hear a bill establishing a statewide smoking ban on Monday.

State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, who has led the charge for a smoking ban the past five years, has agreed to sign onto a bill authored by state Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero.

Turner is confident the smoking ban will be debated this session despite the impasse over proposed right-to-work legislation. The bill hits a “sweet spot” in terms of allowing minimal exemptions and gaining bipartisan support, Turner said at a Thursday news conference on the bill.

The House has repeatedly passed the smoking ban but the bill has died in the Senate.

“This bill has not passed out of the Senate in the past, and I think the fact the governor has included it as part of his agenda leadership on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate have expressed their support,” Turner said.

The bill exempts casino gaming floors, cigar and hookah bars and fraternal, social and veterans clubs depending on certain requirements. 

“Although all of us would like to pass a pure bill with 100 percent no exemptions, we think this is the right bill,” Turner said.

Brown expects push-back from the casinos but said limiting smoking to the gaming floor is vital.

“The casino industry has big bucks and somehow convinced the state we are going to lose revenue in fact if we go smoke free,” Brown said. “I don’t necessarily agree with that. I still maintain we should not be treating those employees of casinos and racinos any different than any other employee.”

Brown will attend Monday’s committee hearing despite the majority of House Democrats remaining in caucus to deny the House a quorum over right to work.