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Senate OKs smoking ban -- House agreement vote next

Publication Date: 2009-03-04
  • Author:Bob Mercer
  • Publication:State Capitol Bureau

The Legislature moved one step closer Wednesday to banning smoking in bars, restaurants with alcohol licenses, and state-regulated gaming establishments across South Dakota.

The Senate voted for the ban 21-14, reversing course from four weeks ago when a similar ban failed on a 17-18 vote.

But the fight isn't over yet.

The legislation still faces a possible reconsideration vote in the Senate and, if it survives, then must return to the House of Representatives for a decision whether to agree with a Senate amendment.

House members voted 43-27 for the ban two weeks ago.

Sen. Jim Hunstad predicted Wednesday that citizens will mount a petition drive to put a smoking ban on the 2010 ballot if the Legislature doesn't enact a ban this session. "People elected us to represent them," Hundstad, D-Bath, said.

Hotel and motel rooms, cigar establishments and tobacco shops would remain exempt from the ban.

"We know there is no safe level of second-hand smoke," Sen. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls, said.

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