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News Summary

20 amendments await smoking ban

Publication Date: 6/24/2007
  • Author:Tom Barnes
  • Publication:Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette

The showdown over smoking is set to start tomorrow.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, is preparing to defend his "Clean Indoor Air" bill from attempts by numerous opponents, especially bar owners, casino officials and tobacco companies, to turn it into a piece of Swiss cheese.

Mr. Greenleaf's bill would ban smoking in almost all public places, but tomorrow, senators will debate a list of more than 20 amendments aimed at "watering down" the bill, as anti-smoking forces see it. The proposed amendments would permit smoking to continue in many workplaces, including taverns, restaurants, slots parlors, nonprofit fund-raising events, nursing homes and private clubs.

Influential lobbyists -- both pro and con on the smoking issue -- have been working feverishly behind the scenes for the past two weeks, ever since Mr. Greenleaf got his bill through the Appropriations Committee.