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News Summary

Expansion of Pennsylvania's indoor smoking ban to be revisited

Publication Date: 6/12/2015
  • Author:Madison Russ
  • Publication:PennLive.com

The House of Representative's Health Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday to revisit the issue of expanding the state's Clean Indoor Air Act and close exemption loopholes.

Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery, is spearheading the proposed update.

Under Murt's amendment, the indoor smoking ban would be extended to bars with food sales making up less than 20 percent of total sales, casino gaming floors, hotel rooms, outdoor patio areas at food or drinking establishments and private clubs...

Pennsylvania Restaurant Association President John Longstreet said the number of loopholes and exemptions in the current legislation is problematic--especially for hospitality employees who may be working in private clubs, such as VFWs, that allow smoking.

"They're just trying to make a living and support their families... if they have to come to work, they don't have any choice other than to be exposed to second-hand smoke," Longstreet said.

While Longstreet said that he favors most of Murt's changes, he didn't necessarily favor a provision that would remove the preemption language.

According to the co-sponsorship memorandum, the removal of preemption language would allow localities to pass smoke-free ordinances that could be more stringent than the state law...