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Senate passes Capitol, prison smoking ban

Publication Date: 2006-05-24
  • Author:Trent Seibert
  • Publication:The Tennessean

Years after smoking had been all but banned in state buildings, legislators may be about to snuff their smoking habits by banning the practice at the state Capitol.

The measure is part of a bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday that prohibits smoking in all of Tennessee's 528 buildings, including prisons, but it's the possible ban at the Capitol that has taken many by surprise. For years, lawmakers, lobbyists and the journalists covering them have filled the Statehouse's hallways with smoke by puffing away, legally, on cigarettes and cigars.

"My daughter wants me to quit," said Mike Murphy, a lobbyist seldom seen without a cigarette. "It gives me an excuse to stop."

Smoking at the Capitol was seen by many as lawmakers flaunting their power to enact laws, but not follow suit with laws regulating themselves.