Proposed statewide smoking ban faces 'uphill fight' in Kentucky House

jcheves@herald-leader.comFebruary 25, 2014 

FRANKFORT — A proposed statewide ban on smoking in public places faces "an uphill fight" in the Kentucky House, with nowhere near the necessary votes, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Tuesday.

House Bill 173, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, has waited for action on the House floor since Feb. 13 as Westrom and Gov. Steve Beshear lobby the 100-member House to support it, said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. The bill has the backing of barely 30 Democratic members and 5 or 6 Republican members.

"It's tough sledding right now," Stumbo said.

Thirty-eight Kentucky municipalities, including Lexington and Louisville, have comprehensive smoke-free laws. Stumbo said he supports Westrom's bill, but the idea of a smoking ban remains unpopular in some rural parts of the state.

A recent Bluegrass Poll — conducted for the Herald-Leader, The Courier-Journal, WKYT-TV and WHAS-TV — found that 57 percent of registered voters in Kentucky support the measure, and 33 percent oppose it.

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