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Smoking-ban bills flame out

Publication Date: 2007-12-05
  • Publication:Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News

But top legislative leaders have all but conceded this week that if Pennsylvania is to join the ranks of states with comprehensive indoor smoking bans, it won't be in 2007, as lawmakers had predicted.

"It's probably something that's going to be worked on as we continue into next year," Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said Tuesday.

Opponents of a comprehensive ban -- led by the tobacco, casino and tavern lobbies -- appear to have successfully run out the clock on getting any bill to Gov. Ed Rendell's desk this year. Rendell left little doubt Tuesday that he considers that a failure.

"I have ceased to quantify my frustration level, because if I did so on a daily basis, it'd be the only thing I do," Rendell said about inaction on the smoking ban, one of his top health care priorities. "I have decided to just say I am continually frustrated."