Here's a copy of the article. It's crappy that IL doesn't believe in giving exemptions to casinos, taverns, vets who smoke, and otha hospitality businesses. Whoever is in those Springfield offices need to get their grasses voted outta there immediately before they kill IL even more!
If this article isn't an example of discrimination from the state, then a person who thinks that is living in a fantasy world. This article is appalling to me in all honesty. I oughta tell those Springfield folks "Screw you, and I REALLY hope you won't be in those offices next year! Because you are NOBODY'S Big Daddy."Jay
Panel rejects bill to modify smoking ban
Proposal sought to let businesses buy special licenses for lighting up
Wednesday, March 5, 2008SPRINGFIELD - Spurning another effort to modify the new statewide smoking ban, an Illinois House committee on Tuesday voted against a proposal that would allow businesses to buy special licenses if they want to permit indoor smoking.
House Bill 4184 was written with the idea of providing businesses with options, said the measure's sponsor, Republican Rep. Randy Ramey of Carol Stream.
"It is not going to dismantle Smoke Free Illinois," he told members of the House Environmental Health Committee.
Since the Smoke Free Illinois law took effect this year, some businesses have lost money because customers no longer can smoke inside, Ramey said. His legislation would enable certain businesses to reinstate indoor smoking, if they wanted to, by buying a license.
Eligible businesses would include bars with food sales of 10 percent or less, casinos, racetracks, veterans' organizations and other private clubs. Restaurants would be excluded.
Local governments would decide how many smoking licenses to offer and how much they would cost.
Among the proposal's supporters was Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. He told members of the House panel that January and February revenues for the state's nine operating casinos dropped by more than 17 percent, when compared with the same months a year ago.
Because of the smoking ban, casino patrons are spending more time lighting up outside and less time playing the slots and table games inside, he said Tuesday.
Mike Grady, director of public policy and government relations for the American Cancer Society's Illinois division, opposed the bill.
"There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke," he said.
Four lawmakers supported Ramey's bill, while 10 opposed it.
Also on Tuesday, the Environmental Health Committee rejected legislation calling for outright repeal of the Smoke Free Illinois Act.
Rep. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, sponsored House Bill 5721 in response to the new law, which he said is "too intrusive" and impedes on small businesses' ability to make a profit.
Just three lawmakers supported Cultra's bill, and 11 others opposed it.
The same committee in recent weeks has blocked other attempts to ease the smoking ban's restrictions by creating exemptions for private clubs, including veterans' organizations.