Smoking Ban Passes Senate Panel

Bars and taverns would be exempt from the smoking ban for the next 18 months under this version of the bill.

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The statewide smoking ban passed a Senate panel Wednesday.

The smoking ban passed the House the last five years, but never got so much as a committee hearing in the Senate until last year. One of the key compromises in this year’s version is an 18-month exemption for bars and taverns.

Danielle Patterson is the co-chair of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air. She says that 18-month window gives the General Assembly a chance to revisit the idea during a later legislative session and exempt bars and taverns permanently.

“We would like this to be done ideally before that so that, you know, this can go into effect,” she says. ”We have a supportive governor right now; we don’t know what the next governor will do. It’s just best to go ahead and get this done this year.”

Lafayette Republican Senator Ron Alting is the chair of the committee that will hear the smoking ban bill. He says the Smokefree Indiana coalition is asking for too much.

“They have never been happy with any bill that’s come out,  so, you know, I’m not surprised or shocked or anything else that they’re not happy with this,” he says.

Alting says he will not support lowering the 18-month phase-in period for bars and taverns. And he says he doesn’t foresee the Senate making any significant changes to the bill.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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