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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. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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