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News Summary

Legislators agree on limited smoking ban

Publication Date: 4/8/2008
  • Author:James Q. Lynch
  • Publication:The Gazette

A House-Senate panel opted for what Rep. Tyler Olson called "progress over perfection" in agreeing to ban smoking in Iowa businesses other than casinos and on a limited basis there.

"I would prefer a clean bill," the Cedar Rapids Democrat said after the 10-member conference committee voted along party lines to take the compromise to the full House and Senate, perhaps as soon as Monday.

The plan to allow smoking on the gaming floor of casinos, but not in casino bars and restaurants, goes first to the House where Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, has said he wants to bring it to a vote within 24 hours of the conference committee issuing its report.

Democratic members of the conference committee supported the bill, but Sen. Bill Dotzler of Waterloo said he would be a "no" vote on the floor.

The committee's four Republicans votes against the compromise. Some saw it as a restriction of the rights of business owners and patrons...

Rep. Chuck Soderberg, R-Le Mars, objected to the exemption for casinos, wondering why casino employees would not get the same health protection as others.

If the bill passes this year, he will be back next year to close that loophole, Olson said.