Smoking Ban Goes to Unfriendly Committee

Share

THE COURIER-JOURNAL | TOM LOFTUS | FEBRUARY 21, 2015

Senate Republican leaders on Friday sent the bill to ban smoking in indoor public places to a committee chaired by an opponent of the bill.

The majority leaders assigned House Bill 145 to the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee chaired by Sen. Albert Robinson, a London Republican.

The move means the bill will not be heard by the Health and Welfare Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, a Louisville Republican who supports the “smoke free” legislation. Moreover, the vice chairman of Health and Welfare is Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a Winchester Republican and medical doctor who also supports the bill.

In the House, the bill was heard – and approved by – the Health and Welfare Committee.

Amy Barkley, chair of the Smoke-free Kentucky Coalition, said, “To us this is a clear signal that the Senate is not serious about hearing this bill.” Barkley also said she believes if the Senate hears it, the bill will be fatally weakened by amendments including one allowing cities to opt out of any statewide smoking ban.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the bill was sent to Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection becase “it is the juristiction of that committee to deal with a public protection issue.”

Stivers said he does not know if that committee will give the bill a hearing. Stivers also said he opposes the bill and that he doesn’t see enough support it to pass the Senate.

Robinson said late Friday he opposes the bill. He said he did not know yet whether he will call the bill for a hearing.

Read the article online.