Photo: Raul Lieberwirth (Flickr)
A bill banning smoking in many public places is on its way to the Indiana Senate, but even one of its lead authors says he hopes it comes back to the House in a much different form. Sixty-eight of the 99 legislators present Monday voted to approve the ban. The bipartisan legislation, authored by Gary Democrat Charlie Brown and Marion Republican Eric Turner began with an exemption for only casinos but was granted several more in hearings on the House floor. But Brown says it’s more important to get something passed and keep the bill moving
“It’s still kind of mindboggling how many of my colleagues do not view this as a health issue and that they would want to protect the majority of their constituents by enacting such a piece of legislation,” Brown said.
Testimony from House GOP members last week painted the bill as anti-business – leading to an exemption for bars which supporters had hoped to avoid. But Bloomington State Rep Peggy Welch, who also sits on the Ways and Means Committee, says any smoking ban is pro-business because it can save companies on health care costs…
“We have got to reduce our health care expenditures. And if nothing else, we know because of this we’re going to have fewer heart attacks, we’re going to have fewer problems with cancer over an extended period of time,” she said.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where several previous smoking ban bills have been snuffed out.