Statewide smoking ban passes House committee but that could be as far is gets in 2012

03/13/2012 04:03 PM

The sponsor of the statewide smoking ban bill that passed a House committee Tuesday said she won’t push for a vote on the House floor until she knows it can pass the Senate, likely putting an end to that measure’s run in 2012.

Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, said according to her count, the votes just aren’t there in the state Senate for the measure that bans smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants but exempts private homes.

Nearly two dozen Kentucky cities or counties have passed smoking bans, including Lexington and Louisville.

The bill to make Kentucky the 28th state with a statewide ban has wide support, including that of the Kentucky Heart Association and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Dave Adkisson, president of the chamber, told the House Health and Welfare Committee on Tuesday that it could be the best thing the legislature can do to address some of the biggest health problems in the state, such as lung cancer and heart disease.

The smoking ban passed the committee with just two dissenting votes — both those votes highlighted the two main concerns lawmakers have with it.

First, some communities oppose it, which was the main reason Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, said she voted against it.

Boone County rejected a proposed smoking ban, while Kenton County approved it.

A second major concern with the bill from some lawmakers is “big government” intrusion, as Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville said:

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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