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News Summary

Smoking ban bill being blocked from Senate vote

Publication Date: 5/6/2009
  • Author:JIM VERTUNO
  • Publication:The Houston Chronicle

The woman standing in the way of a Senate vote is Sen. Jane Nelson, a Flower Mound Republican who joined Armstrong on the Capitol steps in February in a pledge to support it.

Nelson, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has not allowed a vote on the bill, frustrating supporters who considered her advocacy a major boost in getting the bill passed into law.

"I have asked over and over again," said Sen. Rodney Ellis, the Houston Democrat sponsoring the measure. Ellis said Wednesday that Republican Gov. Rick Perry said he'd allow the bill to become law if it gets to his desk.

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said she was unaware of any conversation the governor had with Ellis, but said Perry would review the smoking ban bill if and when it reaches his desk.

Nelson said she still supports the bill and that there's time to address it before the session ends June 1.

"Everybody wants to panic," Nelson said. "Things may shake loose very soon."

Asked why she hasn't allowed a vote, Nelson said she and Ellis had "an agreement" but wouldn't elaborate.