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News Summary

Statewide smoking ban OK'd in Senate

Publication Date: 2007-03-28
  • Author:RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
  • Publication:Saint Paul (MN) Pioneer Press

House expects to pass similar bill; Pawlenty promises to sign.

After more twists and turns than smoke from a cigarette, the Minnesota Senate on Tuesday passed a straight-up statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

This year's measure has been through six Senate committees and changed a little at each stop. On Tuesday, more changes were proposed as senators tried - and failed - to:

Allow smoking at bars and private clubs.

Ban smoking in public places on Indian reservations.

Allow cities to opt out of the ban through referendum votes by their citizens.

But, after more than two hours of debate on the Senate floor, what supporters and opponents knew would happen did: The Senate approved the measure by a 41-24 vote.

The state House is working on a similar measure, which also is expected to be approved. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he would sign the ban.