This story appeared in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch as well as the St. Louis Business Journal. The possibility of comprehensive statewide smoke-free air legislation to greatly strengthen the existing Missouri Clean Indoor Air Act of 1993 has been in the works for awhile but is only now receiving some publicity as the new session in the Missouri legislature gets underway and bills are being filed.
A blog about that luncheon with photos. of Rep. Schupp, noting her mention of the intention to introduce this bill, can be found by clicking here.
To learn where the bill stands currently click here. The same web page has a link to the text of the bill as introduced.
Bill calls for statewide smoking ban in Missouri
By Juana Summers
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
JEFFERSON CITY — Smoking would be banned in many public places statewide under legislation proposed Monday by two St. Louis-area legislators.
The bill, which has not yet been assigned to a committee, would ban smoking in restaurants, bars, shopping malls and gambling facilities, among other public places.
Bivins and Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, hammered out the specifics of the legislation with support from the American Lung Association and American Cancer Society, who have, in the past, opposed bans at the city and county level because they were too lax for the groups’ liking.
Both are optimistic that the bill has a strong chance of moving through the legislative process. However, critics, including Senate leadership, say the proposal is unlikely to pick up much steam.
“I’m still not convinced this is the year that happens,” said Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields, who said restaurant owners in the state, already facing challenges, would likely oppose the bill because of an expected hit to their business.Last year, Sen. Joan Bray, D-St. Louis, sponsored a smoking ban bill, but it received little support from other lawmakers and was never heard in committee.
The current version comes at a time when key parts of the state have already approved some form of clean-air legislation, potentially making a statewide ban more politically palatable.
Three of Missouri’s largest cities — Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia — already have some form of indoor smoking ban. Last November, St. Louis County voters approved an anti-smoking measure that will trigger a ban in the city of St. Louis as well.“Those are all population centers in our state,” said St. Louis County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, who led the county push for a smoking ban. “If one connects the dots, you can see that this is certainly an important issue to many, many people in this state.”
Both the St. Louis and St. Louis County bans take effect next year.
The state measure would contain fewer exemptions, which helped it garner the support of groups such as the American Cancer Society, which did not endorse the county and city bans.
Jake Wagman of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.font>