Denham Withdraws Amendment to Smoking Ban


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State Rep. Mike Denham (D-Maysville) has withdrawn his amendment to the smoking ban legislation being considered by the General Assembly.

Denham’s amendment was the eighth of nine amendments filed since the legislation was introduced in the House on Jan. 8 and was filed Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Denham said late Wednesday he withdrew his amendment, which essentially changed Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order of making all publicly owned buildings and surrounding grounds smoke-free into state law that couldn’t be rescinded, because House members are working on other compromises and his wasn’t one of the compromises being considered.

He said he also withdrew the amendment because of phone calls from residents of his three-county district of Fleming, Bracken and Mason.

“My bill didn’t run to include private businesses and clubs,” Denham said.

Denham’s amendment read “Delete original provisions; create a new section of KRS Chapter 438 to define terms; prohibit smoking or other use of tobacco on property owned, leased, or contracted for use by the executive, judicial, or legislative branches; prohibit smoking or other use of tobacco on property owned, leased, or contracted for use by a municipal or local government; prohibit smoking in public schools; prohibit smoking in veterans’ centers and facilities owned or operated by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services via promulgation of administrative regulation; establish exemptions; clarify that existing smoking bans are not impacted by this bill; repeal KRS 61.165, 61.167, and 438.050, relating to smoking on governmental property and in schools.”

According to the Legislative Research Commission website, where all bills for the 2015 General Assembly can be viewed, House Bill 145 is an act prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment.

The act would: “Create new sections of KRS Chapter 438 to define terms; prohibit indoor smoking in businesses, places of employment, and other listed public places; exempt private residences, unless used for child care or adult day care; permit smoking in designated nonenclosed areas; require posting of “no smoking” signs at specified locations; permit local governments to adopt stricter regulations by ordinance; provide for enforcement by all peace officers and designated health department and local government employees; provide for the issuance of uniform citations for violations; require that employers and others not discriminate against persons reporting violations; provide for fines for violation; provide that fines go to the agency whose employee issued the citation; provide that no court costs or other fees be charged for violations; exempt certain research and manufacturing laboratories and agricultural buildings; amend KRS 344.040, relating to unlawful practices by an employer, to add reference to state law, local ordinance, or local board of health regulation relating to smoking; amend KRS 431.450, relating to uniform citations, to provide for issuing citation forms to health departments; authorize the Department of Kentucky State Police to create and issue uniform smoking violation citations; repeal various statutes permitting smoking in public buildings; provide that Sections 1 to 6 may be referred to as the Smokefree Kentucky Act.”

Denham confirmed the language of “prohibiting indoor smoking in businesses, places of employment” would be applicable to all privately owned businesses and private clubs.

“Every kind of business, every place,” he said.

Public Health Director Allison Adams said her position on the ban is that it protects employees from being exposed to second-hand smoke.

“I’m not against smoking individually, I’m opposed to people being exposed to second hand smoke for their health,” Adams said. She said at a public forum held last week at Maysville Community and Technical College, 80 people came out to support the smoking ban.

She said it is employers’ responsibliity to protect employees from second-hand smoke, even if it should apply to a bar where no one under 21 is admitted. She said data, from Lexington, shows bar business has not been affected by the city’s smoking ban.

“I am for the bill as it’s written,” she said.

A check with Maysville and Mason County officials found that smoking has already been banned from publicly owned buildings.  For the city, this includes the Maysville Conference Center and Cox Building.  Smoking is prohibited around the pool deck and concession area of the Maysville-Mason County Recreation Park.

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