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Is this the year a statewide smoking ban passes?

Maybe.

The latest from Gov. Rick Perry’s preferred polling firm, Baselice & Associates, shows that 70 percent of Texans support a ban on indoor smoking, including in restaraunts and bars.

The sentiment appears to cut across party lines. The ban was supported by 67 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 74 percent of Democrats. Of those that identify with the Tea Party, 54 percent favored the idea. The poll also found that 63 percent of Texas voters are more likely to vote for a state legislator who supports such a law.

Last session, smoke-free legislation failed to get enough traction to get through the process. The push for a different outcome this time around has already begun. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, have both filed bills to ban smoking in public indoor spaces.

The measures have the support of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. “Now is the time to make smoke-free workplaces a reality,” he said in a statement.

Until proven otherwise, my opinion is that anything other than the budget, redistricting, and Governor Perry’s wingnut wish list should be considered questionable for passage. Having said that, Dewhurst wouldn’t bother making a statement in favor if he wasn’t on board, and I don’t think Perry’s pollster would get involved if the Governor was going to be an obstacle, so this has a few important ducks lined up. With so many cities passing similar bans – San Antonio being the last domino to fall – it makes sense that the state would step in to fill the gaps. There is some organized opposition, but if the restaurant and hospitality crowd is in favor, I don’t think that will matter much. The real enemies are the calendar and the higher priorities that have been defined. Hair Balls and Postcards have more.

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3 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    The smoking-ban legislation is not about restaurants and public places as all of those places have the right to ban smoking already. The ban includes all workplaces and that would include home offices, barns and tractors, vehicles, private offices, and any property deemed a workplace by the government. In other words, the government would be telling you that you cannot engage in a legal activity in your own property, even if you own your property.

    What’s next? If you support this ban, soon it will be illegal to serve unhealthy donuts in the office, illegal to allow fried foods or to serve fast food, illegal to have salt and soft drinks in break rooms, and the list goes on. Don’t believe me? Those bans are being enacted elsewhere.

    I’m not comfortable with people who hedge on their support for basic rights.

  2. Terrill says:

    The smoking ban is no more a front on property rights than forcing food workers to wash their hands after going to the restroom. that law was enacted to protect the public and so should a smoking ban.

    It is estimated that Texas could save up to 30 million dollars on health care cost if a ban is in place. That is real money.

  3. dmcnuggets says:

    Riiiiight, smoking bans are about protecting the workers, blah blah blah. Tell me this then, why do so many workers then testify about the impact of smoking bans on employee wages(specifically tips), and not to mention why NOT ONE indoor or outdoor smoking ban enacted has yet to save any lives? Spare me.

    Why don’t Texas lawmakers scrap the biannual statewide smoking ban proposal, and look into passing a realistic statewide law that both sides can live with? The only way you can be truly fair to both sides(those who hate smoking and only patronize smoke-free establishments, or those who are either indifferent or prefer smoking establishments) is if all restaurants/bars/clubs/bowling alleys/pool halls/etc. permitting smoking have to post clear exterior signage at each public(but not private or employee-only) entrance stating their indoor policy(even if it’s allowing smoking throughout the entire establishment), and for employers to clearly disclose on job applications, and in interviews, their smoking policy. Also, any businesses choosing to allow smoking inside wouldn’t be allowed to admit anyone under 18 into any indoor areas designated as smoking. That way, both patrons and employees of businesses can clearly make an informed choice before patronizing or deciding to apply for a job at a business permitting smoking, and ensures that the legal right for smoking establishments to exist isn’t taking away by a fanatical minority that doesn’t respect the rights of another minority to exist.

    Personally, I absolutely detest people who overapply perfume or cologne on themselves, but I’m not so selfish that I ask for a law banning them from patronizing bars, nightclubs, and other types of adult-only businesses. If laws like an indoor smoking ban are allowed to pass, where does the slippery slope of further laws to take away the rights of a minority(from one minority that’s overly fanatical to take another minority’s liberties away, like anti-smokers are towards smokers) end? Finally(to all anti-smoking fanatics), like it or not, NOT one study has ever shown indoor SHS exposure to be deadly. Won’t deny indoor smoking can definitely be annoying to some, but it definitely is not a hazard.

    Please use free will, and if smoking policies of an establishment bother you, don’t reward that establishment with your patronage. Vote with your wallet, and reward places with smoke-free policies, if you’re bothered that much by smoking. Just don’t cry later, when fanatical government lawmakers later want to go after other vices you like, such as regulating or banning products like salt, trans-fat, or even completely prohibiting smoking in one’s residence(such as laws in Belmont, CA and Sebastopol, CA, that completely prohibit smoking in 100% of residences and apartments, unless the residence is a stand-alone home).