Weakened smoking ban moves on ladened with amendments

The Indiana Senate passed House Bill 1149, the smoking ban bill, today on second reading. On the Senate floor, the bill received a number of amendments, effectively weakening the bill. The bill arrived from the House and passed the Senate Committee on Public Policy with exemptions for gaming facilities, cigar and hookah bars and private clubs. The bill also included a 16-month exemption for bars and taverns.

Amendments that were added to the bill during Senate action today included:

  • Amendment 13: Allows group homes, community mental health centers and Indiana Veterans Homes to establish designated smoking rooms.
  • Amendment 18: Removes sunset provision on bar and tavern exemption. Smoking at bars and taverns will continue to be permitted.
  • Amendment 20: Permits charity gaming organizations to allow smoking during events.
  • Amendment 21: Made technical changes to the bill.
  • Amendment 22: Allows cigar and hookah bars to move to new locations and remain exempt from the ban.
  • Amendment 23: Confirms that statewide smoking ban will not supersede local smoking ordinances as long as they are stricter than the state ban.
  • Amendment 24: Reduces from 12 feet to 8 feet the distance from the entrance to a public place that must be smoke free.
  • Amendment 26: Removes exemption that a club or fraternal club seeking an exemption from the smoking ban must be established before June 30, 2012.
  • Amendment 28: Prevents local municipalities from establishing smoking ordinances that prohibit smoking in gaming facilities.
  • Amendment 29: Exempts home businesses from the smoking ban.

The legislation now moves for a final up or down vote on the Senate floor tomorrow. If the bill passes the Senate, it will return to the House where the bill’s author will either concur or dissent to the Senate changes.