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IN statewide smoking ban passes General Assembly

A statewide smoking ban is headed to the governor’s desk for his approval. This, after weeks of debate and compromise have left many legislators aren’t satisfied with the results.

The final version of the ban exempts bars and taverns, gaming facilities, tobacco shops and private clubs.  And it does not prevent local governments from passing stricter bans.

During Friday’s Senate debate, several legislators raised objections to the specific language of the bill, saying it could lead to unintended consequences.  However, State Senator Jean leising (R-Oldenburg) says she’s worried about the bigger issues involved.

“I’ve never smoked a day in my life, you’ve all heard me say that.  But we have a terrible infringement upon the rights of individuals who own property in Indiana.”

Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson (D-Elletsville) says the legislature also needs to consider the rights of non-smokers.  She says she would have liked the ban to be even stronger.

“There are exemptions in it; I wish there weren’t.  But we know it will save lives and it will save families from the tragedies of heart disease and cancer.”

The Senate passed the bill 28-22. Governor Daniels is expected to sign it into law.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.