After another legislative session in which a statewide smoke-free bill stalled in Frankfort, the Smoke-Free Kentucky Coalition is beginning an optimistic 2015 push.
A previous effort sponsored by Lexington Democrat Rep. Susan Westrom died in the House amid speculation that tobacco lobbying and election year concerns contributed to its demise.
The Coalition announced that it will make several stops across Kentucky to rally supporters and engage legislators to help pass a statewide smoking ban during the 2015 General Assembly. The tour begins July 28 in Ashland and will end at the Fancy Farm Picnic August 2.
The coalition took a similar tour in 2012.
Smoke-Free Kentucky spokeswoman Betsy Janes says smoke-free legislation has a good chance to get passed next year.
“They still believe the votes are there,” said Jane. “ It won’t be an election year. There won’t be the budget distractions that we had last year. So it looks like we have a policy window opportunity here to get this passed.”
Janes says the bill has also been hampered by Big Tobacco spending and the Kentucky Farm Bureau. Tobacco company Altria was the biggest spender in lobbying for this year’s General Assembly.
Kentucky is one of 26 states that lacks a statewide smoking ban, which polls show has a plurality of support in the state.