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A good day for Minnesota

Publication Date: 5/17/2007
  • Author:EDITORIAL
  • Publication:Saint Paul (MN) Pioneer Press

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said it was a "proud day and a good day for Minnesota'' as he scratched his signature onto the long-awaited, much-debated statewide smoking ban that will make all Minnesota bars and restaurants smoke-free when it takes effect Oct. 1.

And then he said: "It's nice to finally sign a bill."

His comments at a signing ceremony on the patio of an Eagan restaurant Wednesday reminded us both that this is a historic accomplishment and that he and the Legislature are still blowing smoke at each other on the budget...

Wednesday's ceremony was a major step in a long march that includes landmark public smoking limits in the 1970s, legislative battles over retail sales and the state's tobacco lawsuit settlement of 1998. Veterans of those past wars were there, including longtime advocate Jeanne Weigum of the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota; Doug Blanke, who battled tobacco lobbyists at the Capitol for years while working for the attorney general and now heads the Tobacco Law Center in St. Paul; and St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune, a passionate advocate for the city's smoking ban.