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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

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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

Senate Bills Miss Key Deadline

A number of bills before legislative committees Wednesday failed to meet a critical deadline that allows them to advance further toward becoming law.  Legislation must be approved by a committee in its house of origin by the end of the day Thursday.  With several committees holding their final meetings for the first half of the session Wednesday that means several bills did not advance.  Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Marianne Holland reports.