The Indiana House has added more exemptions to its statewide smoking ban-but supporters still think the bill can pass the General Assembly.
The bill originally exempted the gaming floors of gambling facilities, cigar and hookah bars, tobacco shops and social clubs. But in order to help facilitate its passage, bill author Eric Turner expanded the gambling facility exemption to incorporate the entire property, including any bars, hotels or restaurants.
“It’s not something necessarily that I would like to see but I’ve agreed to it,” he said. “I think there’s another day that we can fight that battle to make Indiana totally smoke free.”
Bars and taverns are among the groups calling loudest for an exemption. Some proposed amendments would have excluded them from the law-but Turner developed a compromise that exempts bars and taverns for 18 months.
Gary Representative Charlie Brown, a longtime smoking ban advocate, says he thinks the wait makes sense.
“Bars are not going to be able to do this overnight so, you know, this kind of makes sense to say, ‘Hey, here’s a warning. You’ve got 18 months to get your house in order.’ Talk to your customers and say, ‘Are you all going to leave me as a result of this?’”
The bill will be eligible for passage to the Senate next week.