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Senate Adds Exemption For Bars To Statewide Smoking Ban

A statewide smoking ban has advanced.

The Senate passed several amendments to the smoking ban Tuesday.  With those changes, bars and taverns would now be totally exempt from the ban, as well as senior centers.  And social clubs who allow smoking would now also be able to allow children into the facilities.  Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) authored several of the amendments.  She says she wants to make sure bars and taverns are on a level playing field with other businesses.

“I believe, truly, that smoking bans violate our property rights,” Leising says.

But Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) says the bill is about workers’ rights.  He helped author the House legislation and says he thinks a smoking ban can get passed without all the exemptions the Senate added.

“This game is only half over and it will be totally different once we get to conference committee,” Brown says.

If the ban passes the Senate Wednesday, it goes back to the House and then either to conference committee for additional changes or to the governor. Brown says if the bar and tavern exemption isn’t removed, he thinks the House won’t support the ban.

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