Push for compromise
Publication Date: 4/29/2008
- Author:Charles Thompson
- Publication:The Patriot-News
Lawmakers pulled back Monday from the brink of all-out war on an indoor smoking ban for public places, opting instead for a last-ditch effort to strike a compromise all sides can accept.
Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, the chairman of a six-member House-Senate conference committee responsible for reconciling House and Senate differences over the issue, announced cancellation of a committee meeting that had been planned for today.
Negotiations will continue more informally, though.
"We've committed to talking every day through the end of this week" to try to settle remaining differences, Rep. Mike Gerber, D-Montgomery, said, referring to talks launched over the weekend between him and Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks.
Gerber is a leader of anti-smoking forces. His House-passed bill contained a ban for casinos and bars and would allow tougher local ordinances.
McIlhinney is the prime architect of the Senate-passed bill that included exceptions from the indoor smoking ban for casinos and bars with limited kitchen operations. That bill would bar local ordinances tougher than the state restrictions.