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Smoking ban's future up in the air

Publication Date: 2008-04-19
  • Author:CHRIS GREEN
  • Publication:Garden City (KS) Telegram

A proposed statewide ban on smoking inside most public places appears stalled in the Legislature.

But debate on the matter looks to be far from over.

Lawmakers left for their annual spring break earlier this month without voting on legislation that would outlaw smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces.

A Senate committee endorsed a bill last month that provided a handful of exceptions to the ban but the measure never came up for discussion before the full chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said it isn't likely to resurface after lawmakers return for their wrap-up session April 30.

"The folks that are pushing that issue hard would tell you that the issue just isn't quite ripe yet in the Legislature," Schmidt said. "They're working on it and they got further on it this year than last year. It just hasn't gotten to the point that it's likely to pass."

Even if the legislation would pass the Senate, the bill almost certainly faces another dead end in the House, where GOP leaders roundly oppose setting state-level restrictions on smoking.