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Kansas Legislature passes smoking ban

Governor will sign into law

Staff writer

The Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday banning smoking in most enclosed public places and businesses. The House passed HB 2221 by a 68-54 vote. District 70 Rep. J. Robert Brookens voted in favor of the bill.

The Senate previously approved the same bill, 26-13, in February 2009. Gov. Mark Parkinson indicated he will sign the bill into law.

Effective July 1, the ban will prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places, workplaces, taxicabs, and limousines, with some exceptions.

Smoking will be allowed in gambling areas of state-owned casinos, private clubs that were licensed by Jan. 1, 2009, up to 20 percent of a hotel or motel’s rooms, and designated areas of adult care homes and long-term care facilities.

Violators may be fined up to $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation in one year, and $500 for third and subsequent violations in one year.

Several representatives said they voted against the measure because allowing smoking in a state-owned casino sets a double standard.

Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, said she would only support a state smoking ban if it were approved by a statewide referendum.

“The bill we voted on is not perfect, but I have come to realize virtually no bill is perfect,” Brookens said Friday. “No bill on about any subject is exactly what I’d want.  This was at this moment in time, however, the best train leaving the station.”

Last modified March 3, 2010

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