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News Summary

Bid to ban smoking ignited

Publication Date: 12/18/2008
  • Author:Michelle L. Quinn
  • Publication:Gary Post Tribune, IN

This might be the year the Indiana passes legislation declaring the state smoke-free, if state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, has his way.

Brown, a proponent of a smoke-free environment, will make his third attempt at passing the comprehensive legislation when he heads back to the state, he said during a forum hosted by the Indiana Campaign for Smoke Free Air at the Lake County Public Library on Wednesday. Since it's not an election year, he said, legislators are more amenable to "hot-button" topics such as no-smoking.

And proponents of no-smoking would do well to flood the call lines to their representatives, because there's no question the lobbyists do. Winnie Mycka, director of transition services for Southlake Mental Health and one of the featured panelists, recalled a talk she recently attended where a lobbyist provided insight to their job.

"(The woman) was saying how a legislator she worked with said he couldn't vote her way because he'd receive many calls from constituents voting against the issue. When she asked how many, he said, 'four,' " Mycka said. "She then said, 'OK, if I can get you five calls voting for the issue, will you vote my way?' He agreed.

"I think we forget how lobbyists have an effect on policy."