Talks start on Indiana smoking-ban compromise

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Legislators began negotiations Monday toward a compromise on proposed statewide smoking restrictions, with a leading supporter of a comprehensive ban saying the bill shouldn't prevent cities and counties from adopting tougher ordinances.

Republican Rep. Eric Turner of Cicero, who is leading the House-Senate conference committee handling the smoking ban bill, said he wouldn't support a provision added to the bill last week by the Senate that would block any new local smoking ordinances. That is one of several changes senators made in watering down the statewide restrictions.

Numerous cities and counties around the state currently have local ordinances that ban smoking in public buildings and workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

"I don't want to go down that path of trying to trump what locals have successfully done for a number of years," Turner said.

The House-approved bill would prohibit smoking in nearly all public places and businesses but give bars an 18-month exemption to the ban and continue to allow smoking at Indiana's 13 casinos, private clubs, retail tobacco stores, and cigar and hookah bars. The Senate greatly weakened the measure by cutting bars out of the proposed ban and adding new carve-outs for assorted businesses like veterans homes and nursing homes.

Casinos have argued they would see fewer gamblers if they were covered by the smoking ban — potentially threatening the some $650 million a year in tax revenue the state receives from them.

Mike Smith, president of the Casino Association of Indiana, told the conference committee that casinos worried that local governments could include them in local bans in the future if state law didn't prevent such action.

Republican Sen. Beverly Gard of Greenfield, the smoking ban bill's Senate sponsor, said she thought it was important to protect the right of cities and counties to adopt tougher smoking rules than whatever becomes state law.

Gard said that many new bars and restaurants had opened around Greenfield despite tough smoking bans in the city and Hancock County.

"It is a very family-friendly environment," she said. "No one can tell me that going smoke free is going to be bad for business because in my county and my hometown it has not been bad for business."

The negotiators expect to offer a compromise bill by the end of this week, when legislative leaders are planning to adjourn this year's session.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has said he wants to see a statewide smoking ban with as few exemptions as possible, but hasn't specified what exemptions he believed were acceptable.

Anti-smoking advocates are opposing efforts to extend the bar exemption past the September 2013 deadline approved by the House. Opposition from health advocates last year to a House-approved bill that included a bar exemption without an end date contributed to its defeat in a Senate committee.

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, offered an amendment the Senate adopted last week that would prohibit local ordinances from banning smoking at any home businesses. But Young, who was among those who opposed the bill in the Senate's 29-21 vote, said he thought smoking rules in general shouldn't be covered by state law.

"I just think this is an issue the local communities should decide," Young said.


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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1