Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Brown’

Indiana Legislature Revisits Statewide Smoking Ban

Members of an Indiana legislative study committee are taking up the issue of a statewide smoking again.  As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports, this is the fourth attempt to get some comprehensive legislation passed. Hear the Story


Representative Brown continues fight for smoking ban

As Indiana legislators continue their final negotiations of the 2010, Representative Charlie Brown of Gary continues his push for a statewide smoking ban.

Today in conference committee, Brown added the smoking ban legislation to a health bill along with several other pieces of senate legislation.

Brown says he did this in the hopes of getting senate conferees to agree to the ban that would only exempt casinos and racinos, tax exempt clubs such as VFWs and American Legions and tobacco businesses.

“There was testimony that showed we spend over a billion dollars a year in Indiana alone, a billion dollars, on smoking related illnesses. So why would, in these austere times why would not everyone want to save at least a portion of that billion dollars by having people not come into contact with second hand smoke.”

Brown says he has three of the four necessary signatures. He’s awaiting the fourth from Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis who represents the Senate Republicans.

Brian Caoimhghin Flood

House Approves Statewide Smoking Ban

Smoking would be banned in public places statewide if a bill passed by the Indiana House of Representatives today becomes law. A relatively small heath bill turned into a big topic Wednesday when the house decided to add in the statewide public smoking ban authored by Representative Charlie Brown of Gary. After much discussion for and against the ban, Legislators passed the bill by a slim margin, bringing Indiana one step closer to being the twenty seventh state to pass a comprehensive smoking ban. Opponents of the bill, like Representative Gerald Torr of Carmel, say they don’t believe the state should tell business people how to run their establishments, while others asked that exceptions be put in for private clubs and veteran’s organizations. But Representative Brown says people in the state are ready to put those arguments to rest.

“Indiana is progressive. Indiana is concerned about its fellow Hoosiers. Indiana is willing and ready to take that step and say second hand smoke is not good for Indiana.”

The ban has exemptions for casinos and racinos. Brown says he will consider other exemptions in conference committee. Several Indiana municipalities have already passed smoking bans, but this is the first time a statewide ban has been passed by either chamber of the legislature.

Brian Caoimhghin Flood

House Leader Says He’s Done Pushing for Land-Based Casinos

Supporters of land-based casinos were handed a major setback today after the House of Representatives withdrew a gambling bill, and an amendment to allow riverboats to re-locate on land. Tuesday’s action seemed initially to support allowing riverboats to relocate on land. An amendment offered by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Crawford did just that. But the amendment was voted down, and shortly afterward, Crawford withdrew the bill altogether. Casinos located at horse tracks lobbied hard against that change, saying it would threaten their profits. Crawford says that’s what stood in the way.

“Racinos got what they wanted and to hell with everybody else!”

That “everybody else” Crawford is referring to, included a riverboat casino in Gary that would have been allowed to relocate closer to interstates, and, more business. Gary representative, Charlie Brown, says it was an attempt to help people in the struggling area, while improving Indiana’s edge when competing with casinos in nearby Illinois and Michigan.

“Since they denied Gary, then I have no interest in the bill whatsoever.”

Crawford says he won’t try again this year to let riverboats re-locate on land. But a gambling bill, without that change, is still alive. That means significant gambling changes in Indiana are still possible through session’s end.

-Marianne Holland

Gambling Legislation Moves to Indiana House

from left to right: State Senator Earlene Rogers, Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, and State Representative Charlie Brown

The Indiana House is now looking at a Senate approved bill that once would have authorized land based casinos. But as Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports, that provision could be back as soon as next week.

Hear the Story

Watered Down Smoking Ban Approved by House

Smoking was the subject of legislation Tuesday as the Indiana House approved a bill aimed at putting an end to smoking in public places. Representative Charlie Brown of Gary, author of the bill, had hoped to institute a comprehensive smoking ban. But after several amendments added exemptions, including one that would exempt bars and taverns, the bill didn’t go as far as to end smoking in public places as Brown would have liked.

“Although over three fourths of white collar workers are covered by smoke free places, only forty three percent of the countries six point six million food preparation and service occupation workers benefit from no smoking.”

Opponents to the bill, like Representative Matt Bell of Avilla, said despite the exemptions, the bill was not right for Indiana. Bell believes that Hoosier businesses should be allowed to decide for themselves whether it is in their best interest to go smoke free, trusting that those businesses will have the best wishes of their employees and patrons in mind. The bill now moves to the Senate.

-Brian Flood

Gary Casino Provision Out of Special Session

During a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday, a Gary legislator withdrew his proposal to relocate a casino in his area and use the revenue for a medical teaching hospital. The removed gambling provision was part of a bill to bail out the capital improvement board that oversees Indianapolis’ downtown sports venues and convention center. Representative Charlie Brown says he decided to withdraw the amendment, saying he did not want controversy over its inclusion to stand in the way of a budget being passed during the special session.

“The primary issues facing state lawmakers in this special session should be passing a state school that protects schools and create jobs. I do not wish to see that focus changed by republicans complaining about back door deals, attempts to bring more gaming to the state of Indiana.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman William Crawford of Indianapolis. Later withdrew the C-I-B bill. He says bipartisan support, is required to move the legislation forward. The full House is scheduled to begin budget deliberation today.