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News Summary

Dems give smoking ban law a good chance

Publication Date: 1/10/2007
  • Author:Sarah Liebowitz
  • Publication:Concord Monitor

After failing by a vote in the state Senate last year, a proposed ban on smoking in restaurants and bars appears likely to pass this year.

The new Democratic majority in the Senate -- November's election added six new Democrats, giving the party a 14-10 edge -- may bolster support for the ban, which lawmakers will reconsider this year. Last year, the ban passed the House and won the support of all eight Senate Democrats. But the opposition of most Senate Republicans, who denounced the ban as an infringement on the rights of business owners, quashed the plan.

"This is not a referendum on our great state motto of 'live free or die.' We all respect that," said Sen. David Gottesman, a Nashua Democrat who is sponsoring the smoking ban. "This is an economic issue and a health issue. It will protect New Hampshire workers and their employers from higher medical costs."