HB 1240, the house version of the ban on smoking in public places and places of employment, passed the Senate 21-14 yesterday. This a month and a day after the same Senate failed to pass its own smoking ban 17–18.
Who flipped votes? Not our man Russell Olson (R-8/Madison), who remains determined to keep the world safe for Big Macs and shifting externalities. Fortunately, Senators Vehle, Ahlers, Gray, Kloucek, and Peterson negated Senator Olson's intransigence by flipping their nays to yeas. Senator Bartling flipped the other way.
The Senate did make one change, knocking the penalty down from Class 2 misdemeanor to petty offense for bar owners who don't notify their patrons of the ban.
Governor Rounds is playing coy on this one, probably hoping he can find some form and style reasons to veto the bill and thus skirt actually answering the question.
Should the governor veto this law, those of us who have urged passage of a smoking ban will just have to resort to the very choice and free market principles that ban opponents have touted all along. Much as I'll miss steaks at the Moonlite, those of us who prefer not to have other people's waste crammed down our throat will just have to boycott every establishment that still allows smoking within its confines. We can settle for places like Buffalo Wild Wings in Sioux Falls, which realizes a smoking ban is both good health and good business.
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