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News Summary

House panel passes bill to ban smoking statewide

Publication Date: 2007-03-02
  • Author:Mark Brunswick
  • Publication:Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

The measure, which has some exemptions, faces another committee test. A similar bill is routing through the Senate.

A bill for a statewide smoking ban advanced in a key House committee on Thursday after a report from BlueCross BlueShield indicating that $215.7 million is spent a year in the state to treat health conditions caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Another report presented by ban advocates contends that jurisdictions in Minnesota that have enacted smoking bans have since seen the number of bars and restaurants increase.

Ban opponents disputed the figures, saying neighborhood bars and mom-and-pop border establishments face significant threats from a ban. Organizations that rely on charitable contributions from pulltabs also expressed concerns about a loss of revenue.

The House Commerce and Labor Committee addressed economic issues related to the ban, which would prohibit smoking in all public places in the state, including bars and restaurants.