The House sponsor of a bill that would establish a statewide smoking ban hopes to see a floor vote this week. But, as Kentucky Public Radio's Stu Johnson reports, proponents realize the measure still faces opposition.
The legislation seeks to ban smoking inside public buildings and places of work. Many individual communities across the Commonwealth have already enacted smoke-free ordinances.
Still, Lexington Representative Susan Westrom admits a number of her colleagues in the House remain “on the fence” regarding the bill. She realizes it could undergo some changes on the floor.
“You know whatever is amended out, our communities, if they choose to go back and include what was amended out, they can," he said. " They can make the bill stronger if that’s what they choose to do within their own communities. So, I don’t look at that as a defeat or something bad.”
In addition to the health benefits of reducing primary and secondary smoke, Westrom views this bill as an economic development measure.
She says companies looking to locate in Kentucky want as healthy a workforce as possible to cut down on absenteeism and insurance expenses.
While senate leaders may have concerns, Westrom believes there is sufficient support among rank-and-file senators. But, the first challenge lies in her own legislative chamber, the House.