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Indiana Senate Panel To Vote On Smoking Bill

An Indiana Senate committee is expected to vote Wednesday on whether a proposed statewide smoking ban will stay alive in the legislature.The American Cancer Society and other groups say the current bill would still leave thousands of workers unprotected from second-hand smoke. The House-passed bill includes exemptions for casinos, bars, clubs and smoke shops, whose owners say they’ll lose business if they can’t allow their patrons to smoke. Nursing homes would also be exempt. Lawmakers say the measure has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled legislature without the loopholes.Amanda Estridge with the American Cancer Society in Indiana says her organization has been trying to persuade lawmakers to amend the bill, even just enough to protect bar workers. "The governor (Republican Mitch Daniels) said he would sign the bill but he would sign the billeven if we strengthen it, too. So we know that we have his support. And we just would like the see the strongest we can get passed," she said. The chairman of the Senate Public Policy Committee has said he won’t allow amendments prior to Wednesday’s vote. Estridge says the proposed statewide ban is weaker than many city and town ordinances across Indiana. (Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.