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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Missouri: Bill would restrict smoking bans

A Springfield, Mo., legislator is proposing to prohibit Missouri cities and counties from banning smoking in establishments where at least 60 percent of retail sales come from alcohol, tobacco or entertainment.

The legislation, if passed, would mean that many more bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, billiard parlors and movie theaters, among other businesses, could be exempted from smoke-free ordinances. Casinos would fall into that category.
Restaurants probably would not be affected, said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Melissa Leach, R-Springfield.

The bill will be heard today by the House Small Business Committee.

The bill would need to win committee approval before it could be debated by the full House. With less than three weeks left in the session, it would be hard for a bill to make it through the legislative process unless it were added as an amendment to another bill that is already in the pipeline.

As to whether she expects it to pass this session, Leach said: "I believe in miracles."
Leach said her purpose was to give business owners more of a say in how to run their establishments.
Under the bill, she said, 'smoking would be left up to the business owner, not the local government."
Voters in Springfield passed a comprehensive smoking ban last year. A move to repeal it is on the June ballot.
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