May 15, 2010 - Smoking would be banned in casinos and bars under a bill approved Wednesday, May 12th by the Louisiana Senate. The Senate voted 23-12 for the measure.
The legislation next moves to the Louisiana House, where a less-stringent casino smoking bill died last week in a health committee.
Senate Bill 348 would be an expansion of Louisiana’s Smokefree Air Act under which smoking is barred in any public building, school, public places and any enclosed area within a place of employment. As of January 1, 2007, Louisiana’s workplaces and restaurants went smoke-free. Also, the state smoking law in Louisiana allows local laws that are stricter to take precedence over the State law. (Non-Smoking Laws in Louisiana. In May 2009 there was also a push to expand Louisiana's indoor smoking ban.
Bill sponsor state Sen. Rob Marionneaux, D-Grosse Tete, said the legislation is needed to protect the health and lives of the people who work in casinos and bars. He said every year 1,100 people die in Louisiana because of second-hand smoke.
State Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City: “This is a public safety issue. There’s a lot of people whose lives are put in danger because of the smoking they cannot control to be around.” He urged rejection of an amendment to include Louisiana’s three Indian casinos that operate as Indian casinos are sovereign nations. The Indian casino amendment died when 10 senators voted for it while 24 voted against.
Louisiana has a law that allows allows police to ticket drivers who are smoking in vehicles with children 12 and younger. Violators face fines of up to $150 or a minimum of 24 hours of community service.
Reference: Senate wants smoking limited by MARSHA SHULER, Advocate Capitol News Bureau, 5/13/2009.
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