Statewide smoking ban close to House vote, Stumbo says

For the second straight year, the state House Health and Welfare Committee has approved a bill that would ban smoking in enclosed public places or workplaces. It is still unlikely to become law, but might get farther in the legislative process.

“The proposal has never been voted on by the full House, and it would probably have a rough road in the Republican-controlled Senate,” Beth Musgrave reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said that the government shouldn’t tell businesses they cannot regulate smoking on their own property.” (Stivers’ hometown does just that; it is one of 22 Kentucky jurisdictions with smoking bans.)

House Speaker Greg Stumbo told Musgrave that he supports the measure, House Bill 190, and that sponsors are close to getting the votes it needs to pass the full House. The House has 100 members, but a bill can pass with as few as 40 votes as long as enough members abstain and it has a plurality.

The bill passed the committee Wednesday by a vote of 11-0, with four Republicans abstaining: Reps. Tim Moore of Elizabethtown, Robert Benvenuti of Lexington, Ben Waide of Madisonville and Addia Wuchner of Burlington.

Rep. Julie Adams of Louisville, the bill’s Republican sponsor, told Musgrave that 29 states have statewide smoking bans, 24 with bans like the bill would impose. “This is a mainstream issue,” she said. “The Kentucky General Assembly is way behind the general public.” (Read more)

Basketball star Derek Anderson will join Smoke-Free Kentucky for its annual lobbying day in Frankfort Thursday, Feb. 14. He said in a press release, “Kentucky has so much to be proud of.   We are known for our hoops and
horses.  Unfortunately, we are also number 1 in the number of deaths
from lung cancer.  This is unacceptable to me. I want to be a part of
the movement to change that.”  He added, “I am a
businessman.  Smoke-free workplaces make good economic sense.” (Read more)

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