Saturday, May 21, 2011

Smoking Ban In Texas OKed For Now; Texas Worried It Will No Longer Look Cool

The Texas House tentatively approved a statewide ban on smoking in public places last night. It was attached to a bill that must pass in order to make the two-year state budget balance. But what about freedom, Texas?

Via the Texas Tribune: Republicans who objected to the measure saying that it was government encroachment successfully added exemptions to the bill that would allow smoking in places like bingo and pool halls. "This is another government edict, when we don't need the edict," said state Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston. Democrats argued the health and safety of the public, reminding the nay-sayers that thousands of Texans die each year from cancer. If it passes, Texas would be the first Southern state to adopt a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law, a measure expected to save an estimated $31 million in state Medicaid costs over the next biennium, according to the bill's fiscal note.

The Republicans argue that the bill is bad for mom-and-pop bars and discriminates against smokers. The Democrats argue that it saves lives. One thing is certain: Texas hates government laws, except when it doesn't.

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