By Jacie Shoaf
After six consecutive years of pushing a statewide smoking ban
ban, supporters say they are confident one will
pass by the end of the 2012 legislative session.
This year's version includes bars and restaurants, but it
allows for smoking on gaming floor of casinos; in cigar and hookah bars; and in
fraternal, social and veterans clubs.
Those exemptions reflect an effort to work around an area
— who to exclude from the ban — that has tripped previous years'
"We think we've found a nice sweet spot, although all
of us would like to pass a pure bill – 100 percent no exemptions,"
said its author, Rep. Eric Turner
Eric Turner, R-Marion.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long
President Pro Tem David Long, R- Fort Wayne, said a complete ban –
one that includes casinos and bars – does not have the support needed to
"If you get 95 percent of what you're trying to get in
the world of the Legislature, that's a big win," Long said. "You take
that and move forward from there. Sometimes you have to be patient and it takes
many steps to get where you want to go."
He said there's "a fair chance" a bill will pass
if it includes exceptions for casinos and bars.
Turner said that while his bill exempts casinos' gaming
floors, it includes all bars – even those on the inside of Indiana's 14
"Since we have passed similar legislation out of the
House for the past five years, we are hopeful the bill can move through the
House without amendments and allow the Senate to consider this compromise
smoking ban," Turner said in a press release.
Turner co-authored the bill along with Rep. Tim Brown,
R-Crawfordsville, Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, and Rep. Peggy Welch,
Proponents said the measure, House Bill 1149, has received
support from the Indiana Hospital Association, the Indiana State Medical
Association, the American Heart Association and other medical groups.
In an interview last week, Gov. Mitch Daniels
Mitch Danielsalso said the implementation of a statewide smoking ban is on
Reporter Lauren Casey of The Statehouse File contributed to
The above is one of an
ongoing series of reports from the Statehouse File by students at the Franklin
College Pulliam School of Journalism.