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House sends full smoking ban to governor

TOPEKA – The House is considering a motion to adopt a bill to create a comprehensive statewide smoking ban.

The measure, Senate substitute House Bill 2221, would bar smoking indoors, with limited exceptions including state-owned casinos. It was passed last year by the Senate.

More than two dozen supporters of the proposal have filled the House gallery wearing black tee-shirts urging the measure’s passage.

The House Health and Human Services Committee earlier this year heard testimony on a second measure, House Bill 2642, that was drafted by traditional opponents of a statewide smoking ban. That bill allows bars and restaurants to pay a $100 per square foot annual fee to have smoking in their establishments. It also overturns currently established local smoking bans, which are generally stricter.

Traditional smoking ban supporters have called the second measure a step back in public health.

“This will be your vote today to cast a vote for clean air,” said Rep. Charles Roth, R-Salina, urging support of the stronger bill.

Check back here for updates on the debate.