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Indiana legislators approve smoking restrictions

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The Indiana Senate on Friday narrowly approved a statewide smoking ban proposal and sent it to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law.

The ban approved by senators in a 28-22 vote will still give people plenty of places to light up since it exempts Indiana's bars, casinos and private clubs, such as veterans and fraternal organizations.

Lawmakers seeking a tougher ban swallowed hard on the compromise, saying it was better to approve some type of ban now and return to it for more extensive restrictions later. Public health advocates argued the measure was too weak after bars were cut out of the ban.

The House approved the ban Thursday night in a 60-33 vote. Gov. Mitch Daniels made adoption of Indiana's first statewide smoking restrictions part of his legislative agenda and has said he expected to sign the bill.

Bill sponsor Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, said she had hoped for a more comprehensive bill, but knew that the exemptions were needed in order for it to clear the Legislature.

"It will result in the protection of the health of hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers from secondhand smoke," Gard said in urging senators to support the bill.

Several senators argue that business owners should have the right to decide whether to allow smoking.

Earlier in the session, the House approved a ban on smoking in most public places and businesses that gave an 18-month exemption to bars, while the Senate passed a watered-down version last week that gave bars a complete exemption.

The compromise version negotiated this week also exempts casinos, private clubs, retail tobacco stores and some in-home businesses.

Danielle Patterson, co-chairwoman of the Indiana Campaign for Smokefree Air, said before the Senate's vote that she appreciated efforts by the bill's sponsors to win support for a tougher version. She said she thought it was important to include bars in the statewide ban, pointing out that the Indianapolis city smoking ban still exempts bars several years after it was adopted.

"We just feel that this was not the best bill for Hoosiers," Patterson said. "It will get something on the books but it may be five to seven years before we can improve it."

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  • Nanny law
    Thanks nanny. I am glad mr. smith lawn mower repair is going to get hounded by the law for smoking in his shop, by himself. Good thing you turned him into a criminal. You nags are nothing more than 21st century version of slave masters. No you are free as long as you do what we command. HMMM mmm sho be good.

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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