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News Summary

Statewide smoking ban clears hurdle

Publication Date: 2008-01-24
  • Author:CHARLOTTE EBY
  • Publication:Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

The idea of a statewide public smoking ban cleared a small hurdle in the Iowa Legislature Wednesday after a House panel voted to move the bill forward to a full committee.

Lawmakers heard from health advocates, who said employees and patrons of bars and restaurants should be protected from second-hand smoke. They also heard from business interests that said they should be able to decide whether smoking is allowed in their establishments.

State Rep. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, has spent several years trying to get a smoking ban passed. She said it is the top issue she hears about from voters, but is unsure whether a statewide ban will pass this year.

"I really don't go anywhere without people asking me to get it done," she said.

The bill would impose a wide-reaching ban on smoking in public places and workplaces...

A statewide ban faces an uncertain future in the Iowa Legislature, which has in the past been reluctant to impose new smoking restrictions. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, has predicted that it would not have the 51 votes needed to pass the House.

McCarthy has said a bill giving local governments the power to impose smoking restrictions is more likely to gain the support of a majority of House members.