Protect Local Control

Ensuring Community Rights
To Pass Smokefree Ordinances

News Summary

House passes smoking-ban exemption

Publication Date: 2009-10-28
  • Publication:Peoria Journal Star

Measure would allow use of tobacco indoors at Native Americans' tribal ceremonies

Lawmakers decided Wednesday to carve out an exemption in the statewide smoking ban that allows the use of smoke during American Indians' indoor tribal religious ceremonies.

By overriding Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1685, the Illinois House of Representatives took the final step for the measure to become law without the governor's proposed revisions. The Senate voted to override his veto two weeks ago.

"We're very happy that this happened," said Larry Cooper of Hamilton, a Native American and chairman of the Standing Bear Council, an intertribal group covering Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

Cooper approached state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, earlier this year about pushing legislation to ease the statewide ban on most indoor smoking. Sullivan was the main Senate sponsor of the bill.

Cooper, a Chikamaka-Cherokee, said the ban violated the federal freedom-of-religion rights that American Indians won in 1978.