Proposed statewide smoking ban clears first legislative hurdle in Kentucky House

lblackford@herald-leader.comFebruary 6, 2014 

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For the fourth straight year, the House Health and Welfare Committee has approved a bill to prohibit smoking in public places statewide.

In past years, advocates did not think the measure would get enough votes to pass the full House or the Senate, but its sponsor predicted Thursday that 2014 will be different.

"I feel confident we have our numbers," said Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington. "This is saving lives."

House Bill 173 passed 10-3. The no votes came from Republican Reps. Tim Moore of Elizabethtown, Russell Webber of Shepherdsville and Addia Wuchner of Florence.

"This is too far-reaching and impacts people's liberty and freedom to do something that is legal," Moore said.

Committee chairman Tom Burch, D-Louisville, said the bill will save the lives of people forced to work in places where smoking is allowed.

"Why should 75 percent of the people suffer because 25 percent want to kill themselves?" he asked. "It's a good bill, it's a long time coming and I hope the Senate sees it the same way, too."

Westrom said she expects the full House to take up the bill next week.

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