When the Kentucky General Assembly adjourned earlier this week, it squandered a tremendous opportunity to improve the health and welfare of all Kentuckians and bolster the state's economy.
House Bill 173 and Senate Bill 117 would have created a comprehensive statewide smoke-free workplace policy protecting Kentucky's workers from the dangers of second-hand smoke. In this economy, many Kentuckians have little choice but to work in unsafe conditions and risk their personal health to provide for their families. And each year, Kentucky's workers lose thousands of hours of productivity due to illnesses stemming from inhaling the toxins lingering in cigarette smoke.
Sadly, that's not the extent of the damage. Every year, nearly 1,000 Kentuckians die from prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke. The General Assembly had an opportunity to protect Kentuckians. Instead of catering to the public's safety, a handful of legislators caved to fear - the fear of losing an election over a perceived controversial vote. This despite the fact that a comprehensive smoke-free bill enjoys overwhelming support across the Commonwealth.
So, on behalf of Kentuckians across the Commonwealth, I want to thank the General Assembly. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for placing protecting your seats over our safety. But the fight is not over. We will be back in Frankfort next year with another bill, and we won't stop until all Kentuckians can breathe clean air in their workplaces.
I'm Paul Kiser and on behalf of Smoke-Free Kentucky that's our Point of View.