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South Dakota smoking ban shifts to House

Publication Date: 2009-02-09
  • Publication:Sioux City Journal, IA

A legislative effort to ban smoking in most public places statewide was snuffed out in the state Senate but still smolders in the House, where lawmakers expect supporters of the measure to focus their energy.

By a vote of 18-17, senators defeated SB83 and it wasn't brought back for reconsideration.

One of the sponsors of the House version, HB1240, Rep. Bernie Hunhoff, D-Yankton, said the arguments generally fall into two camps.

"The opponents of the ban have done a good job of making the Libertarian argument that we shouldn't tell others what to do in their own businesses. They also warn of a dire downturn in video lottery revenues in a year when the state is already short of funds," he said.

"The proponents are arguing that it's a public health issue that involves us all, and that it's also an employment issue. Should anyone have to work in an unhealthy environment?"

The Legislature seven years ago banned smoking in most public places but included exceptions for bars, restaurants that serve liquor, casinos and hotel rooms. The bill that failed in the Senate would have removed those loopholes, except for hotel rooms.

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