Tuesday, February 19

Will Iowa Ban Go Up in Smoke?

Tonight the members of the Iowa House are expected to debate a possible smoking ban in most indoor public places. The bill had been moving quickly until last week when it suddenly met a snag when debate was postponed.

House Leader Kevin McCarthysaid backers of the proposed smoking ban had not filed a proposed amendment in time to allow for debate.

"We do have house rules," said McCarthy. "When we have a controversial bill, it is the duty of the floor manager to make sure their amendments get filed in a timely manner."

At odds for a total smoking ban is an exemption for casinos from the smoking ban. Legislators say that exemption could give casinos an unfair advantage over bars that still would have to eliminate smoking. Smokers might end up going to bars inside the casino if they can't light up at the neighborhood tap, they say.

Additionally, restaurant owners have joined together to fight the ban. Smoking policies in their private establishments should be theirs to decide, they say.

Given the experience in Iowa City when a smoking ban was put in place and later rejected by the Iowa Supreme Court because of jurisdictional rights. it would make sense for the state to not exempt casinos, restaurants or bars. That way, everyone is on an even field and no one can say that they are being treated unfairly.


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