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Kentucky House OKs Statewide Smoking Ban

Photographer: Kari Soderholm

The Kentucky House on Friday passed a bill that would enact a statewide smoking ban in indoor public places.

The bill was amended on the floor to exempt cigar bars, veteran group posts, and cities that have already enacted smoking bans.

The ban would allow citizens to file complaints against individuals or businesses who violate the ban. Fines for individual violators would be $25 and $50 for businesses.

Several Republicans accused the bill of infringing on individual liberty. Lexington Rep. Stan Lee, the chair of the House Republican caucus, said that his members viewed the issue differently than the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat.

“She views this as a health issue and a number of us view this as a freedom issue,” Lee said.

Westrom argued against amendments to exempt bars from the ban and to allow electronic cigarettes to be still be smoked in indoor public places. Both amendments failed.

This is the fifth year a smoking ban has been proposed in the House.

A statewide smoking ban bill has been proposed in the Senate, but it has not yet been heard in committee.