Iowa House guts smoking ban

The Iowa House voted this morning to exempt bars and restaurants that hold state liquor licenses from the controversial bill banning smoking in public places statewide. An amendment wedging those exemptions into the ban bill was approved 51-44. The House then sent the bill back to the Senate.

Essentially, under the new version of the ban, if you serve drinks, you can allow smoking at designated times, likely at night, when only patrons 21 and older are admitted. So no puffing around the kids. Along with bars and eateries, smokers would be allowed to light up under those rules on casino gaming floors, in clubs and in bars at hotels or motels.

 Smoking would still be banned in scores of other public venues, but a bar exemption drives a Mack truck-sized hole in a bill that left the Senate banning smoking in darn near every nook and cranny of the state.

Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, who supports a full-blown ban, pleaded with his colleagues to resist undoing the “historic” vote the House took three weeks ago banning smoking everywhere except casinos and veterans’ clubs.

But the winning side portrayed the change as a victory for “property rights” and “individual rights” to allow bars and restaurants to chart their own path on smoking.

I have no idea what happens now in the Senate, but you’d think some critics of the original bill might take this watered-down version. Who knows? This issue has become almost unpredictable. I think a House-Senate conference committee will eventually have to sort the whole mess out.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson has the story right here.

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5 Comments

Filed under Iowa Legislature

5 responses to “Iowa House guts smoking ban

  1. Nick Scott

    The ban, without bars, is worthless! Representative Olson has this 100% correct. The Senate sent the bill back to the House with fewer exemptions NOT so the House could completely fold on the bill. This is gutless and frustrating.

  2. Marty Miller

    Go ahead ban smoking from bars and restaurants…like here in Minnesota one out of four bars WILL be closing…this will be even higher in rural areas..pull-tab sales down 18%,greatest drop ever…ban has been in effect since Sept.07. Where do go here in Minnesota if you just want to enjoy a cigar? You stay home thats what, until the ‘smoke police’ decide to go after you there…

  3. george

    Ban smoking completely. This nonsense has gone on too long. Wise up people, they are addicting and killing people. Why not property rights for crack too?

  4. alicia

    um. i dunno, cause crack is illegal. last time i checked, smoking wasn’t.

  5. John

    It’s nonsense that a smoking ban will run roughshod over rural businesses. As is the idea that a smoking ban is some kind of insult to individual rights. The insult is allowing the one out of four people who still smoke to force everyone else around them to smoke, too. …Try visiting somewhere that has a ban in place. You’ll be surprised, whether you smoke or not, how much you never noticed that smoke-filled bars suck. And how quickly smokers adapt to their new lives.

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