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News Summary

Smoking ban backers change course in House

Publication Date: 7/8/2007
  • Author:Tom Barnes
  • Publication:Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette

The state House yesterday changed tactics on legislation that would ban smoking in public places and workplaces, including offices, restaurants, taverns and casinos.

House members spent two hours Friday arguing about House Bill 1541, a restrictive bill offered by Rep. Michael Gerber, D-Montgomery. It allows for only limited exceptions where smoking would be allowed.

But yesterday, House members decided to shift their attention to Senate Bill 246, a weaker smoking ban that the Senate approved 10 days ago. The House could begin discussion of that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Yesterday, Mr. Gerber said he wants to make Senate Bill 246 tougher by going back to the original language offered by its sponsor, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery. Both Mr. Gerber and Mr. Greenleaf want the legislation to permit smoking in only a few places, such as private clubs, retail tobacco shops, a portion of the rooms in a hotel or motel, and in private homes as long as the homes aren't used for day care.