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News Summary

Smoking bill passes Assembly

Publication Date: 2005-06-24
  • Author:Staff/news services
  • Publication:(Madison, WI) Capital Times
Gov. Jim Doyle is hinting that he would veto a bill that would overturn Madison's upcoming ban on smoking in bars.

On a tight 48-45 vote Thursday, the Assembly approved a bill that would impose statewide restrictions on smoking in restaurants but would snuff out current anti-smoking ordinances in Madison and 20 other communities, including La Crosse, Eau Claire and Janesville. Local governments would also be prevented from enacting stricter measures in the future.

"I think it's best to allow communities to address this issue as they see fit," Doyle said shortly before the Assembly's action. "They've had referendums. They can make their own decisions, and that's what's been happening in Wisconsin. I don't think we should be moving backward in the communities that have said, 'This is what we want for ourselves.' "

The bill, AB 414, had the active backing of the state Tavern League, which opposes the Madison ban on smoking in bars. The Madison ban will take effect July 1 unless both houses of the Legislature approve the bill and Doyle signs it.