Smoking ban can’t get a vote due to Republican boycott over chairman’s block of measure for drug tests for welfare recipients

There could have been a vote Thursday on a bill for a statewide smoking ban, but a Republican boycott of the Democratic-controlled House Health and Welfare Committee over another bill prevented that.

“Republicans were upset over the committee chairman’s decision not to have a vote on House Bill 26, sponsored by Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, which would require the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to implement a substance-abuse screening program for recipients of public assistance,” reports Greg Hall for The Courier-Journal.

Chairman Tom Burch, D-Louisville, said he didn’t allow a vote because he didn’t want to “embarrass” Napier. “Whether he admits it or not, you don’t embarrass somebody by killing their bill in front of them,” he said. “You just hear it.”
Just eight of 16 committee members were present; at least nine are needed to move a bill. Six of the absentees were Republicans; two were Democrats. “Without a committee majority present, no vote was take on HB 289, the smoking ban sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington. Burch said he likely will call a special committee meeting early next week to hear the bill,” Hall reports. (Read more)
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