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Smoking ban legislation appears dead in Statehouse

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Legislation that would ban smoking in all public places, enclosed areas of places of employment and certain state vehicles appears headed for an Indiana General Assembly summer study committee

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana State Medical Association co-lobbied in favor of House Bill 1131. But smoking cessation advocates opposed it, arguing a series of exemptions had watered the legislation down too much.

Perhaps anti-smoking advocates’ biggest objection to HB 1131 is its pre-emptive language, which would prohibit local governments around the state from establishing stronger bans of their own that eliminate exemptions.

Authored by State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, HB 1131 would have exempted from the ban casinos, bars, taverns, tobacco shops and family-owned businesses in which all the employees are related.

On Feb. 2, the House of Representatives approved the bill on a 73-to-26 vote, with 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans voting in favor of it.

But Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, has signaled his caucus won’t support the legislation.

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