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News Summary

Senate panel drops casino exemption from smoking bill

Publication Date: 2/26/2008
  • Author:Whitney Woodward
  • Publication:Sioux City Journal

A Senate panel stripped an exemption for casinos from the proposed statewide smoking ban Monday, less than a week after House members narrowly approved the legislation.

The Senate State Government Committee sent the amended version of the controversial statewide smoking ban to the full chamber. Democratic leadership has said the bill, which would forbid smoking in most public businesses, could be called for a vote in the full Senate as soon as this week.

Sen. Staci Appel, D-Ackworth, who's routing the bill in the Senate, said removing the casino loophole was necessary to protect the industry's estimated 11,000 workers from carcinogenic secondhand smoke.

"They're just as important as any other Iowa worker, and that's what we're out there to protect," Appel said of casino employees. "I think it's the right thing to do for the state of Iowa."