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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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  • Why does gvmt care?
    Government has a public health based reason to care so long as they (we) pick up the tab at the end of the day through Medicaid. Note: I'm not saying I agree, but it is a clear reason why.
  • Misguided and hypocritical
    Where is the true concern for the innocent? How are the innocent protected by banning consenting adults from smoking in public buildings, while parents, guardians, and others can feel free to smoke in confined spaces (cars, homes, etc) in the presence of minors? This whole effort toward banning smoking in bars and private clubs is so misguided and hypocritical. Please do not bring this up again until you have banned smokers from lighting up in confined spaces with minors who don't have the ability to simply leave.
  • Private Clubs
    The final Enrolled Act says that the 501C's have to take a vote to allow smoking. I haven't seen this mentioned in any of the press reports. They have just been saying that private Clubs are exempt.
  • are you nuts?
    This is amazing - why on earth does the government care.
    Cant you see this is about control? Those of us who dont smoke , kinda makes it hard to care, but i just think this is going too far.
    The nags wanted the bars to go non smoking - why does anyone care about other business.
    • Had the "energy"....
      Really? All these politicians are using tax payer money as part of their salary..you should have the "energy" to do YOUR job...you know the job everyone elected you to do. Also, this smoking ban is weak, most restaurants nowadays ban smoking anyways...take some lessons from your own counties Indiana and states around you and ban smoking everywhere once and for all...have the "energy"...give me a break
    • so the local auto parts store
      SO the local auto parts store will be breaking the law if they smoke inside? Wow way to make criminals out of ordinary people Nanniana

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