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Daniels weighs smoking ban options

Publication Date: 12/28/2007
  • Author:Munster (IN) Times
  • Publication:PATRICK GUINANE

While trumpeting a health-care plan bankrolled by the nasty habit, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels declined Tuesday to endorse a "one-size-fits-all" state smoking ban such as the one Illinois will usher in next week.

Starting Tuesday, smokers will have to venture outside of restaurants, taverns and most other public places to light up in the Land of Lincoln. Illinois lawmakers approved the statewide ban -- the 22nd in the nation -- earlier this year.

Daniels repeatedly has said he prefers Indiana's current "home rule" policy, which Valparaiso, Crown Point and other cities have used to snuff out smoking in most public places. However, the Republican governor softened his stance Thursday, saying he is "open to" a legislative push for a statewide smoking ban...

"Obviously we're doing everything, including raising the cigarette tax, to discourage smoking in the state," Daniels added. "At the same time, I continue to have a strong preference for home rule. And up to this point, I haven't convinced myself that the state should compel this one-size-fits-all (smoking policy) down to every community, but I'm open to the question and thinking about it."

State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, is sponsoring legislation to ban smoking in indoor workplaces and restaurants but not in bars, bowling alleys, casinos, horse racing tracks and off-track betting parlors. The measure, Senate Bill 1057, is similar to the smoking ban Crown Point will begin enforcing in April, as well as existing policies in Valparaiso and Indianapolis.