Last Tuesday, just before the special session ended, the Trib summarized where the effort to pass a statewide smoking ban stood.
Bill: SB 28 would institute a statewide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and many public places. If passes, supporters say it would save an estimated $31 million dollars in Medicaid spending over the next biennium.
Status: Passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and headed to the Senate floor, where it will likely land today.
What to watch for: Despite widespread public support for the measure, it faces opposition from owners of smoker-friendly establishments and a corps of conservative lawmakers who killed the amendment during the regular session. Even if it makes it out of the Senate, it will likely die on the clock.
Indeed, SB28 never made it out of the Senate – it never even got a floor vote before the Senate high-tailed it out of town. So, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, those of you who live someplace that hasn’t yet tightened its local anti-smoking ordinances. And look for more places like San Marcos to take it up this year or next.
With the fate of a proposed statewide smoking ban in flux in the current session, the San Marcos City Council is considering a November ballot initiative that would ban smoking in public places.
A “public place” is still undefined, and many questions about the potential ordinance have yet to be answered. Mayor Daniel Guerrero said he asked for the item to be put on the agenda to talk about the city’s options.
In the end, council members directed city staffers to return in two weeks with more information about options for a binding or nonbinding referendum, the latter of which would give the council flexibility in when or whether to implement the ban if the voters approve it, possible ordinance language and a schedule for public feedback and future council discussion.
The council must decide whether to put the initiative on the November ballot by Aug. 2.
That was published while the Lege was still in session. I’ll check back later to see what they decide.