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Smokers rule

Publication Date: 1/26/2005
  • Author:Erika Slife
  • Publication:Chicago Tribune
No-smoking laws apply to everyone in the state Capitol except for the people who made them: members of the Senate.

State lawmakers long ago voted to restrict smoking in public places, but one of the few places the rules don't apply is under the Capitol dome--or at least under the Senate half of it.

"Some people say it's a tradition in the Senate, but so was spitting in spittoons 40 years ago," said Rep. Bob Molaro (D-Chicago), a former senator who tried unsuccessfully to get his colleagues to change their rules on smoking. "We're passing clean-air laws for everybody else, but then in the chamber we do whatever we want. It smells, literally, of hypocrisy."

Nowhere is the upper chamber's custom embodied more than in a painting overlooking the Senate gallery: former Senate President James "Pate" Philip, a Republican who prided himself on an aversion to political correctness, proudly clutching an oversize stogie.