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Still no statewide smoking ban

Last Tuesday, just before the special session ended, the Trib summarized where the effort to pass a statewide smoking ban stood.

Bill: SB 28 would institute a statewide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and many public places. If passes, supporters say it would save an estimated $31 million dollars in Medicaid spending over the next biennium.

Status: Passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and headed to the Senate floor, where it will likely land today.

What to watch for: Despite widespread public support for the measure, it faces opposition from owners of smoker-friendly establishments and a corps of conservative lawmakers who killed the amendment during the regular session. Even if it makes it out of the Senate, it will likely die on the clock.

Indeed, SB28 never made it out of the Senate – it never even got a floor vote before the Senate high-tailed it out of town. So, smoke ’em if you got ’em, those of you who live someplace that hasn’t yet tightened its local anti-smoking ordinances. And look for more places like San Marcos to take it up this year or next.

With the fate of a proposed statewide smoking ban in flux in the current session, the San Marcos City Council is considering a November ballot initiative that would ban smoking in public places.

A “public place” is still undefined, and many questions about the potential ordinance have yet to be answered. Mayor Daniel Guerrero said he asked for the item to be put on the agenda to talk about the city’s options.

In the end, council members directed city staffers to return in two weeks with more information about options for a binding or nonbinding referendum, the latter of which would give the council flexibility in when or whether to implement the ban if the voters approve it, possible ordinance language and a schedule for public feedback and future council discussion.

The council must decide whether to put the initiative on the November ballot by Aug. 2.

That was published while the Lege was still in session. I’ll check back later to see what they decide.

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2 Comments

  1. dmcnuggets says:

    If the minority of lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate who favor a complete smoking ban were smart, they’d bury this issue once and for all(including NOT bringing up such a bill in the future 2013 legislative session), and instead take the bolder step of banning the sale of all tobacco products. They of course never will, and will annoyingly bring it up forever, until it passes(whether it’s in 2 years, or 20 years from now). Let’s not forget that in the regular 2011 session, Senator Rodney Ellis COULD NOT even muster a proper 21 votes to bring this bill up for a full Senate vote(let alone even 16 in the special session, which speaks louder volumes about the unpopularity of a smoking ban bill without sensible exemptions like bars), so it never had any kind of chance to pass the Texas Senate.

    The only way the Texas House may have any remote chance to pass a state smoking ban(and IF they even could get the Senate to concur) is to include exemptions for certain establishments(primarily adult-only ones), since a Crownover amendment to add a total smoking ban to a Texas Senate bill at the end of the regular session only got 73 votes in support(and only narrowly passed by 7 votes, 73-66), with 2 amendments exempting certain types of businesses(one for pool halls, and another for private clubs) that got small majorities(79 and 90 votes, respectively) in support. Rep. Myra Crownover couldn’t even get a standalone total smoking ban House bill passed during the regular session, in addition. It’s just complete insanity that some Texas lawmakers cannot respect the rights of individuals to use free will when it comes to smoking establishments, and if they are that bothered by its indoor smoking policy, no one is forcing them to patronize these few establishments. Why else does one hear about businesses in areas without comprehensive bans banning smoking anyway, such as this bar in Lubbock chose to do as of today:
    http://m.lubbockonline.com/business/2011-06-25/away-all-ashtrays-original-caprock-cafe-location-citys-first-smoking-sports

  2. […] here for the background. Those of you in San Marcos who might want to register an opinion about this, […]