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Legislature, G.I. city council debate smoking ban

Publication Date: 2007-02-14
  • Author:Staff and wire reports
  • Publication:The Grand Island Independent

Nothing like a proposed smoking ban to light up rounds of political rhetoric -- and a bill from Sen. Joel Johnson of Kearney is making an especially good conversation piece.

"It's one thing to overeat, it's one thing to compete in dangerous sports and so on. The difference here is what you do with your actions doesn't stop with you," Johnson said Tuesday, his voice rising as he tried to quell previous arguments against his proposed ban. "Secondhand smoke hurts the other guy."

Such arguments, and the emotion behind them, are not new to the Legislature. The body has defeated previous attempts to enact a statewide smoking ban, including in 2005, when supporters fell six votes short of approval on a first-round vote. But the new makeup of the Legislature -- term limits swept out nearly half of all state senators -- makes history an unreliable indicator of what lawmakers may do this year.

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