Louisiana - will smoking ban be expanded..

May 22, 2009 - A push to expand Louisiana's indoor smoking ban gained momentum Wednesday, 5/20 when a Senate committee agreed to legislation that would ban the practice in bars and casinos.

The unanimous decision by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee came a day after a House health care committee approved similar legislation. The move sets up a showdown on the floors of the House and Senate between the public health advocates who are pushing the measures, and lobbyists for casinos and bars, who oppose the change.

Louisiana has a smoking ban in force:
As of January 1, 2007 the "Louisiana Smokefree Air Act," took effect prohibiting smoking in most businesses around Louisiana, leaving people to do as they'd like in their homes and cars (unless they're using their homes as day care facilities). Also - Louisiana has a smoking ban in force when children (kids) 12 and younger are in the car (automobile).

"It's been a chess match to participate in, but the folks we're not playing chess with are the folks who are exposed to secondhand smoke," said Sen. Rob Marionneaux Jr., D-Livonia, who sponsored Senate Bill 186.

Chris Young, a lobbyist for the Louisiana Association of Beverage Alcohol Licensees, said the amended version of the bill is better than the original because it covers everyone, instead of carving out exceptions for some. But bar owners still plan to fight the bills on the floor, Young said. Indian casinos would not be covered by the ban, and restaurants and bars could still allow smoking on open-air balconies and patios.

A spokesman for Gov. Bobby Jindal said the governor doesn't like the bills, but won't veto them should they reach his desk. "Seems like another step towards a nanny state," Jindal's press secretary, Kyle Plotkin, said. "We think adults can make decisions for themselves, but don't feel strongly enough to override the will of the Legislature." - hard to believe these comments from the governor's spokesperson. - TobaccoWatch.org..

Reference: Senate panel backs smoking ban in bars
Sides gear up for fight over legislation
by Jan Moller, Times-Picayune, 5/21/2009.

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