Smoking ban survives Senate committee

The statewide smoking ban still lives.

Senate lawmakers pushed a ban on smoking in public places out of committee this afternoon, sending it to the full upper chamber for a vote.

Senate Bill 28, which would ban smoking indoors in bars, restaurants and many public places, has failed to make it through past legislative sessions despite public support. It was voted out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with a 5-4 vote.

State Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, both filed smoking ban bills during the regular session, only to see them defeated. In May, House lawmakers led by Crownover attached the ban to SB 1811, a funding bill, but the measure was stripped out in conference committee after objections from senators.

The House Appropriations Committee gave its approval to a different statewide smoking ban bill, HB46, two weeks ago. It’s still not clear to me that this can pass the full Senate, and it’s not clear Rick Perry will sign it if it’s a standalone bill, but clearly progress is being made.

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