Sat May 28, 2011
Smoking Ban Dead, Again
Many thought this was the year. But Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, acknowledged on Saturday that a measure establishing a statewide smoking ban in Texas is dead.
Crownover blamed its failure on a "handful" of Senate conferees who refused to keep a smoking ban amendment on Senate Bill 1811, a sweeping fiscal matters bill. She said the amendment would have saved taxpayers $30 million in Medicaid spending over the next biennium.
"I am proud of the work we did this session. We passed this legislation in committee in both chambers and won a major victory on the House floor," Crownover said. "Science, logic and reasoning are on our side now, and ten years from now the idea of smoking in a restaurant will be as bizarre an idea as smoking on an airplane is today."
Crownover said by raw numbers, she had a majority of votes in both the House and Senate to pass the smoking ban. But because of Senate rules, which require a two-thirds vote to bring bills to the floor, "a unified minority" blocked her legislation.
"What really bothers me is that somewhere in a small town in Texas there is an expectant mother working in a cafe who has no option, other than the job she has, to feed her family," Crownover said. "Cigarette smoke is killing her and harming her unborn baby."