Wednesday, February 3, 2010

HB 1131 Update

Representative Charlie Brown's bill HB1131, the smoke free air bill, passed out of the House yesterday with a vote of 73-26 and is now headed to the Senate. Unfortunately more exemptions were added to the bill, specifically to exempt VFWs and Legion Halls. So under the current version of the bill you could not smoke at restaurants, daycares, government buildings and other businesses. Clearly this bill is no where near being comprehensive and would not protect Indiana workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Continually we are being left behind by other states going smoke free, we are now almost surrounded by smoke free states with Michigan, Ohio and Illinois all being totally smoke free. Even Louisville to the south is totally smoke free. Yet the state legislature is still trying to exempt bars, clubs and casinos which is something that no one else in the nation is still doing..

Here is a synopsis of the bills status from today's Indianapolis Star:

Smoking ban
The Indiana House voted 73-26 Tuesday night to pass a statewide smoking ban, albeit a watered down one.
When Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, authored House Bill 1131, it only excluded the state's casinos and horse tracks from the ban. But after the House voted to adopt several amendments, those exemptions expanded to include bars, taverns, smoke shops, small businesses not open to the public, VFW and American Legion halls.
"We've exacted this down to the point where I think it's only illegal to smoke inside an oxygen tent in the intensive care unit of a hospital," said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington. "This is not even close to a comprehensive ban anymore."
Despite how much the ban had been weakened, several Republicans voted against the measure.
"I still have a profound disagreement that this is good policy for the state of Indiana," said Rep. Matt Bell, R-Avilla. He said the decision on smoking bans should rest, as it does now, with individual communities.

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