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Capitol Matters: Will proposed ban go up in smoke?

Publication Date: 2007-12-09
  • Author:Robert Swift
  • Publication:Towanda (PA) Daily Review

With session days dwindling to a precious few, it appears that final legislative action on a statewide smoking ban will be put off until next year.

The smoking ban is just one piece of a comprehensive health care plan unveiled by Gov. Ed Rendell that covers everything from the delivery of health care to making health care affordable and accessible.

The spotlight in recent days is on a new proposal by Mr. Rendell to underwrite health insurance coverage for 800,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians by tapping the surplus in a state fund that helps physicians pay malpractice insurance premiums.

That leaves the smoking ban languishing in the shadows.

The House and Senate approved separate smoking ban bills last summer, but they need to agree on a common bill version for anything to reach Mr. Rendell for signing.

This is done by having a six-member House-Senate conference committee hash out compromise provisions that can be put to a yes/no vote in each chamber.