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News Summary

Casino smoking ban passes Senate

Publication Date: 5/3/2008
  • Author:Ted Mann
  • Publication:The Day (New London, CT)

Move seen putting pressure on tribes to agree to voluntary restrictions

It took almost five hours, and its fate is uncertain at best, but the proposal to extend a ban on cigarette smoking to Connecticut's two tribal casinos passed the state Senate Friday night.

The Senate voted 24-11 to approve a modified version of the smoking ban proposal, which would form a negotiating committee to meet with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, in an effort to reach a voluntary agreement bringing the state's smoking ban to the tribe's casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

But while an amendment modified the provision most protested by the tribes, its essence remained: If the committee and tribal governments can reach no agreement by next spring, the existing ban will kick in for the casinos, a development that would almost certainly trigger a long and hard-fought court battle.

Three southeastern Connecticut senators, Democrats Andrew Maynard of Stonington, Andrea Stillman of Waterford, and Edith Prague of Columbia, voted for the bill. Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, joined a group of Republicans voting against the bill...

Members of the United Auto Workers local union rejoiced when the bill was passed, shortly before 10 p.m. The union recently won the right to represent dealers at Foxwoods and had aggressively lobbied for the bill's passage.