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News Summary

Smoking ban is still in limbo

Publication Date: 5/5/2007
  • Author:JOHN MORITZ
  • Publication:Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram

The effort to ban smoking in almost all indoor public places and some outdoor venues sputtered Friday in the Texas House, but not before the proposal was watered down.

The legislation, House Bill 9, was labeled a matter of workplace safety. But the House voted to exempt bars and taverns unless local ordinances already did so. Before debate on the bill could continue, however, the House adjourned for the weekend just before 6 p.m.

State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, persuaded the House to allow all bars to be exempted but not restaurants. His rationale was that if tony cigar bars didn’t have to comply, neither should working people’s corner beer joints...

Dutton’s amendment passed narrowly. But the bill’s author, Denton Republican Myrna Crownover, said she plans to try to strip the amendment out after debate resumes Monday.

Crownover said the bill was an effort to promote public health, not to regulate private behavior.