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Smoking Ban Advocates Once Again Face Senate Roadblock

Supporters of a statewide smoking ban in public places are set to try their luck in passing such a law for the third legislative session.Smoke Free Kentucky has started an advertising campaign to raise support for the smoking ban and a recent poll showed a majority of Kentucky support such a ban.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he supports a statewide ban and believes such a bill would pass his chamber. A House committee passed the bill in 2012, but the bill's sponsor did not push it for a floor vote. Many cities across Kentucky have implemented their own smoke free laws, including House Stumbo’s home, Prestonsburg. Lexington implemented the state's first smoke-free law in 2004. And after three years of trying, the speaker says he believes his chamber will pass the bill.“I hope so, you know I support it," Stumbo said. "I think it’s past due, a lot of the communities have adopted ordinances, including mine, and so I think it’s probably time we act on that, I hope that we could.”But bill sponsor State Rep. Susan Westrom has always held back the bill because of a lack of support in the Senate. And that appears to be a roadblock again in 2013, because Senate President Robert Stivers says he’s against it.

“I personally wouldn’t go to a smoking institution cause I don’t like it," Stivers said. "But I don’t think its government place to dictate to a business owner how he or she should run and maintain a business."Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says he also is against a ban. But Senate Health and Welfare Chair Julie Denton says she favors the ban, but has not discussed it with her GOP peers.