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Statewide Anti-Smoking Bill Moves To Ky. House

Josh James

Anti-smoking advocates are cheering the passage of a statewide smoke-free bill out of a state House committee Thursday.

Two previous attempts at similar legislation have so far failed to pass the General Assembly, but supporters say the measure is gaining momentum. House Bill 173 sailed through committee without any formal debate Thursday.

The bill, which bans smoking in all public places except for designated non-enclosed areas, passed 10 to 3.

Rep. Tim Moore was among the dissenting votes.

"I think people have a responsibility to chose where they're going to go for their dining enjoyment, where they're going to be in space that might be threatened with smoke. So I think that this is too far-reaching and impacts people's liberty and freedom to do something that is still legal," Moore argued.

Bill sponsor Fayette Rep. Susan Westrom says the HB173 is a more finely honed bill than the measures introduced in past sessions and she’s optimistic her colleagues in both chambers will be more receptive this time around.

"I feel confident we have our numbers and I feel confident that our argument is so scientifically sound that people can't turn their head away and say we're invading their lives. No, we're saving lives," Westrom told reporters.

The bill also treats e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes, an addition that has the support of Gov. Steve Beshear.

Westrom says she hopes the House will take up the bill next week.