As legislators began working Monday on the final details of a bill banning smoking in public places some lawmakers say it will be difficult for them to support a ban that exempts bars and taverns.
The ban was watered down last week in the Senate, with full exemptions added for bars, taverns, mental health and senior living facilities. A Senate amendment would also preempt future local ordinances that are stricter than the state law.
Gary Democrat and co-sponsor Charlie Brown says he is not sure he will support the bill if bars and taverns are totally exempt. He says bar employees are just as deserving of protection as any other worker.
“It’s regrettable that some view those that work in bars as not human beings, not hard working Hoosiers in the state of Indiana,” he says. “That is beyond the pale to me.”
Greenfield Republican Senator Beverly Gard says the language of the bill needs to be tweaked even if bars and taverns have to be exempted for it to pass the Senate. She is worried the exemptions, as currently written, go farther than they are meant to.
“I’m not sure that bars that are attached to restaurants, where families gather, I’m not sure that they still aren’t allowed to smoke,” Gard says.
The final details of the ban will be worked out behind closed doors before the bill moves to the floors of both chambers later this week.