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Governor signs state smoking ban into law

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Gov. Mitch Daniels signed Indiana's first statewide smoking restrictions into law Monday, saying while everyone might not have been happy with the bill, it was best to get something approved while lawmakers had the "energy" to handle the issue.

The smoking ban proposal narrowly cleared the state Senate this month after compromises expanding the number of exemptions were added to the bill over the objections of health advocates. Daniels signed it and other legislation during a ceremony at his Statehouse office.

The ban that takes effect in July will still give people plenty of places to light up as it exempts Indiana's bars, casinos, retail tobacco shops and private clubs, such as veterans and fraternal organizations.

"I never thought this was as quite an absolute subject as some thought it," Daniels said shortly before signing the measure.

After lawmakers removed bars and taverns from the ban, the American Cancer Society and other public health groups that had been lobbying in favor of the measure turned against it.

But Rep. Eric Turner, a Cicero Republican who co-wrote the legislation, said even with the exemptions, the measure is still strong.

"I like to be focused on the thousands of locations in Indiana on July 1st that will be smoke-free," Turner said. "Of course we had to have some exemptions to get it passed. The public will dictate to us when the timing is right."

Also Monday, Daniels approved new fines for violations of Indiana's open meetings laws, new regulations on nepotism in local government and a reduction in the number of boards and commissions in the state.

Public officials will now face court fines if they violate the state's open meetings laws. Daniels called it a victory for open government supporters.

One of the biggest remaining questions from the 2012 session is whether the Republican governor will veto a measure passed by the Legislature that would allow homeowners to use force against police officers entering their homes. Daniels spent Monday talking with opponents and supporters of the bill and said he still hasn't decided what to do.

"It's a close call, I'm trying to put the time into it to at least make a well-informed decision," he said.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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