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News Summary

Smoking ban bills assigned to committee that appears unlikely to send to full Senate

Publication Date: 2015-02-23
  • Author:Melissa Patrick
  • Publication: Kentucky Health News

The state Senate's Republican leaders have assigned both the Republican and Democratic smoking ban bills to a committee that appears unlikely to send them to the full Senate.

The Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee got House Bill 145, which the House had passed 51-46, and Senate Bill 189, filed by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville.

Adams is chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, and smoke-free advocates had hoped the bills would go there, improving its chances in a Senate that doesn't appear disposed to pass it.

"I do not like smoking. I don't patronize places that smoke. I have allergies … but I just don't think it is the role of government to start telling private businesses what they can and can't do from that perspective." -- Senate President Robert Stivers

Senate President Robert Stivers defended the assignment, saying the bills relate to public protection. Last year, a smoking ban bill sponsored by the previous Health and Welfare chair, Republican Julie Denton of Louisville, was sent to the Judiciary Committee and never heard...

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, of Louisville, a Democratic co-sponsor of the Senate bill, said he understood how a smoking ban could be perceived as a public-protection matter but used the assignment as an argument for the legislation.

"There is no bill we can pass this session that would save the state more money than a comprehensive statewide smoking ban," he said. "It will make Kentuckians healthier; it will save the state money."...