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News Summary

Smoking ban is diluted

Publication Date: 5/8/2007
  • Author:KAREN BROOKS
  • Publication:Dallas Morning News

Legislature: Bill gutted by House heads for difficult fight in Senate

The House all but stubbed out a statewide ban on smoking in public buildings Monday, passing severely weakened legislation that allows property owners to exempt themselves – even in cities with bans in place.

'We're going to fight and fight to get it back where it was. It's a work in progress,' said the smoking ban's author, Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton. She consulted Monday with Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, who was trying to keep an amendment attached to the bill. The changes render the legislation meaningless and threaten to unravel city bans, though it's unlikely those changes will survive a conference committee – if it gets that far.

The ban passed 91-48, after a two-day clash between anti-smoking activists and local-control and property-rights supporters. The fight finally ended in an 11th hour agreement by the bill's author to just get the bill passed, in any form, before a constitutional deadline kills it later this week.