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Alaska workplace smoking ban advocates worry legislation is in limbo

Publication Date: 2016-04-11
  • Author:Devin Kelly
  • Publication:Alaska Dispatch News

Alaska anti-smoking advocates say their legislation to create a statewide indoor smoking ban is languishing in a committee chaired by Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, where it's set to die when the Alaska Legislature adjourns April 17 unless LeDoux decides to schedule a hearing and send it to the House floor.  

LeDoux's House Judiciary Committee got the legislation April 4. In a brief interview Monday, LeDoux, R-Anchorage, wouldn't disclose her plans for the bill, Senate Bill 1 and companion House Bill 328.

"We're going to see what happens," LeDoux said.

The legislation would ban smoking in workplaces, businesses and public places including bars, expanding on laws already in effect in Anchorage, Juneau and several other communities. The ban would extend to e-cigarettes and vaping, neither of which is covered by the Anchorage ban. Some of the bill's more vocal opponents include members of both the e-cigarette and vaping industries.

Supporters of the bill include the American Lung Association in Alaska, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and dozens of hospitals, businesses and community groups. On Monday, some advocates criticized the pace of the legislation and accused LeDoux of killing it through inaction.