Close but no cigar yet for vote on statewide smoking ban bill

02/27/2014 05:42 PM

Sponsors of the smoke-free bill that would ban smoking in bars, restaurants and most other workplaces across Kentucky say they are ready for the full House to take its first vote on the measure after four years of trying.

Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington said Gov. Steve Beshear has been lobbying Democratic lawmakers to support the measure. And Republican Rep. Julie Raque Adams of Lousiville has whipping up votes among Republicans.

She says she has more than eight votes from that caucus.

Westrom won’t say a number but said she believes more than 42 of the 54 House Democrats on board for an issue that has cut more down rural and urban lines than by party affiliation.

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo told reporters Wednesday that he wasn’t counting votes but his sense was that the measure wasn’t “quite there yet” but was within “striking distance” of the more than 50 votes needed.

Westrom and Adams talked about the progress — and whether this issue might be better off in a non-election year:

Since last year’s bill stalled in the House, Westrom made several changes affecting private property so as not to affect, for instance, tobacco grower’s barns that cure tobacco a certain way.

And Adams and Westrom have been making arguments on a number of levels: that a ban improves public health as fewer employees are exposed to second-hand smoke and decreases Medicaid costs related to treating lung ailments.

Here’s what they said about the effect of their campaign to convince their colleagues:


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