Statewide smoking ban bill moves forward in Ky. legislature - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Statewide smoking ban bill moves forward in Ky. legislature

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill that bans smoking statewide has overwhelmingly passed a House committee.

And for the first time, a bill has been filed in the Senate. Supporters believe momentum is finally on their side.

The twin bills would ban smoking in the workplace and most public places.

Private homes would be exempt, except those used for child care or adult daycare.

"We have made some changes since last year," said Rep. Susan Westrom (D-Lexington), who is sponsoring the House bill.

Rep. Westrom testified before the House Health and Welfare Committee alongside two Louisville Republicans.

"It's an issue that shows Kentucky is making progress toward living healthier lives," said Rep. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville).

But despite the bipartisan support, some House Republicans voiced opposition.

"I think that this is too far-reaching and impacts people's liberty and freedom to do something that is still legal," said Rep. Tim Moore (R-Elizabethtown).

The bill passed 10-3 and Rep. Westrom expects success in the full House.

"The last thing we want people to think is we're banning cigarettes, we're not -- cigarettes are very legal, just like alcohol is legal," Rep. Westrom said. "We're just asking people to step outside 15 feet to smoke."

The Republican Senate is less certain, but Sen. Julie Denton (R-Louisville), who has filed the first-ever smoking ban bill in the Senate, is cautiously optimistic.

"It's not going to be an overwhelming support, I know that it's going to be tough, but I'm hopeful that we can make the argument and get enough folks on board that we can finally pass it," Sen. Denton said.

And Gov. Steve Beshear says he's behind the effort.

"Sooner or later this is going to happen in Kentucky, and I hope it's sooner, I hope we can see some movement this session," Gov. Beshear said.

This bill also applies to e-cigarettes. But since the research is incomplete, Rep. Westrom says e-cigarettes could be removed from the final version.

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