Colorado Senate Gives Final OK To Smoking Bill
DENVER (AP) _ The Colorado Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would declare smoking ″indoor air pollution″ and ban it in most public places, after one opponent described the measure as an abuse of state power.
The 35-member Senate approved the bill on a 22-12 roll call vote and sent it to the House.
This is the second year in a row that the Senate has passed a bill that would provide statewide control of smoking. Last year’s bill never received a hearing in the House and died there.
″This law doesn’t say that you’re a bad person if you smoke or that you can’t smoke. It just places some restrictions on smoking,″ said Sen. Martha Ezzard, the bill’s sponsor.
It would exempt bars, tobacco shops, restaurants seating 50 or fewer people, and any business with fewer than 20 employees.
All other public places, including businesses, would be no-smoking areas. It also would require that smoking areas be provided and allow sections of halls and lobbies to be designated as smoking areas. Violations would be punishable by a fines of $25 to $300.
Ezzard noted that 20 cities in Colorado have enacted no-smoking ordinances over the last two years.
Sen. Tilman Bishop said the bill was an abuse of state power.
″I think that we have been rather successful in letting the local governments make this kind of decision,″ he said. ″I think they’ve done a pretty good job by responding to what the people are saying they want done at the local level, without us coming through with something that tells them it has to be done across the state.″