By a vote of 29-21, the Indiana Senate has passed a heavily-amended statewide smoking ban.
The Senate measure includes exemptions for casinos, bars, private clubs, tobacco stores, bingo parlors and other places.
It will be sent to a conference committee next week. That’s where lawmakers will try to reconcile it with the House version, which has fewer exemptions.
This is the first proposed smoking ban to win Senate approval. Republican Michael Young voted ‘no,’ calling the exemptions hypocritical.
“The argument is people die because of second-hand smoke. And yet we said ‘it’s okay for you to die if you work over here, but not over there,'” Young said in a floor speech.
Bill supporter Sen. Ron Alting urged his colleagues to let the bill move through the legislative process.
“I believe in my heart and mind what we need to do today is vote this bill out of the Senate and get it to conference committee so we can begin to sculpture the correct…what should be perhaps in it, and what perhaps shouldn’t be in it,” he said.
Health organizations and other supporters of a stricter ban say they hope some of the Senate loopholes will be removed when the bill goes to conference committee.