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News Summary

Senate vote on casino smoking ban could come today

Publication Date: 5/1/2008
  • Author:Ted Mann
  • Publication:TheDay, CT

Democratic leaders in the Senate moved a controversial bill to ban smoking in the state's Indian casinos off the foot of the calendar Wednesday night but took no further action late that evening.

A vote on the bill could come as soon as today, said Sen. Mary Ann Handley, D-Manchester, who supports extending the ban.

The bill would appoint a committee to negotiate an extension of Connecticut's 2003 ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other workplaces to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, the two tribal-owned casinos, which are currently exempt.

If the committee failed to reach an agreement by February 2009, the bill would automatically extend the ban to the casinos.

Both the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have protested the legislative effort, questioning its legality given the limited sovereignty afforded them under federal law and state compact.

It also has been strongly opposed by area lawmakers who say they wish to work toward a smoking ban while preserving good working relations with the tribes, both major area employers.