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News Summary

Bill easing smoking ban endorsed

Publication Date: 4/8/2009
  • Author:RACHELLE GINES
  • Publication:San Jose Mercury News

A bill that would ease the terms of a voter-approved measure that banned smoking in many Nevada bars and other public places was approved on a 6-1 Wednesday by a key legislative committee.
SB372, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which softens the 2006 Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act, would allow smoking in bars that serve food as long as minors are restricted from entry. Also, businesses could wall off separately ventilated smoking rooms.

Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, who cast the lone "no" vote, said she sympathizes with the bill's advocates who say the 2006 ban hurt many businesses and cost many people their jobs. But she said SB372 "would undo the good work that has been done" by the 2006 act.

"I believe that what was done in the Clean Indoor Act was the proper thing to do to protect the public health of the people of Nevada, and I didn't see that any modifications would be appropriate," Wiener said after the hearing.

As amended, the bill calls for fines of up to $1,000 for bar owners who fail to keep out minors. Also, the state health officer could designate local health authorities to enforce the act.