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News Summary

Up in smoke: This year's smoking-ban bill dead

Publication Date: 3/14/2016
  • Author:Melissa Patrick / Kentucky Health News
  • Publication:www.richmondregister.com

Despite early hope, the bill to ban smoking in Kentucky workplaces was likely dead on arrival this year.

"I haven't heard anything about the smoking ban bill in... well, really since the start of the session," House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said in an interview. "So, I would say yes, it's dead."

"The timing has just not been right," said Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, sponsor of the bill. "We don't have the votes. It seems like in every election year, people are afraid to vote on something like this that they perceive to be controversial."

In addition to it being an election year, Westrom elaborated on a long list of other reasons for why the smoking-ban bill hasn't had any support this year, including: it being a budget year, a new Republican governor and Senate leadership that don't support it, less organization from advocates, a quiet public and the loss of several funding streams.

"There's always next year," Westrom said. "This isn't an issue that will go away because we can't ignore that Kentucky is one of the least healthy states in the country. It always has to be at the top of our priority list."...