Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Thursday, April 7, 2011
(STATEHOUSE) - A Senate Committee has overwhelmingly killed a proposed statewide smoking ban.
The Public Policy Committee voted 8-1 to reject the bill, with only Anderson Democrat Tim Lanane voting yes.
And even Lanane objected to the bill's exemptions for bars, casinos and nursing homes. He says he voted yes to give the full senate the opportunity to weigh in.
American Cancer Society Lobbyists say they'd rather have no bill than the exemption-laden bill under consideration.
Committee Chairman Ron Alting took the unusual step of not accepting amendments in committee.
He says he's convinced the bill can't pass without the exemptions, and believes it would have passed this year if advocates had been willing to settle for what they can get.
Given the Cancer Society's position, Alting says, he sided with them in voting no.
Evansville Republican Vaneta Becker and Indianapolis Democrat Greg Taylor say they voted no because of the exemptions as well.
But Carmel Republican Mike Delph had made clear in earlier hearings he would vote against any version of a ban.
And Michigan City Democrat Jim Arnold says casinos and veterans'clubs need to be exempt, but once you do that, he says, it's impossible to avoid exempting bars as well.
Amanda Estridge with the Cancer Society says the committee did the right thing by killing the bill.
She says backers still made progress by getting a hearing in the senate for the first time, and vows to return next year.
The house has passed a smoking ban five times, but has tacked on a bar exemption each time it's had the opportunity.
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