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News Summary

Alaskans speak up about bill to smother smoking

Publication Date: 3/14/2016
  • Author:JAMES BROOKS
  • Publication:JUNEAU EMPIRE

The Alaska Senate is again considering a bill to prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants and public places across Alaska.

Senate Bill 1 was the first piece of legislation proposed in the Senate last year, but it was sidelined by the need to address the state's $3.7 billion budget deficit. On Monday morning, the Senate Finance Committee heard public testimony on the bill, with 45 people from across the state giving their opinions....

Ban proponents - who significantly outnumbered opponents - said a smoking ban is a matter of workplace and public safety. Employees are forced to breathe smoky air, and there is no doubt that smoking causes cancer...

After the public hearing, MacKinnon said the bill would be set aside for the time being. On Monday afternoon, it did not appear on the calendar this week, and committee staff said it is uncertain when the bill will appear again.

If approved by the finance committee, SB1 will head to a vote of the full Senate. If approved there, it will go to the House.