Smoke Free Indy, along with several other similar organizations, have been pushing for an expanded smoking ban in Indianapolis/Marion County and a state wide smoking ban in the state house. Personally, I thought the timing for their state smoking ban was odd. It comes after the state GOP made huge gains in both houses of the General Assembly, with 60 seats in the House and a quorum proof majority in the Senate. On top of that, many of the Republicans elected were supported by various Tea Party groups, and I just don't think most Tea Party people would support a state wide smoking ban.
To my surprise, the smoking ban has made it passed the House, and looks like it has a good chance of passing the Senate as well. However, it's progressed with amendments. It exempts bars, casinos, tobacco shops and legion halls.
But the proponents of the ban are having none of that. Yesterday, I received a press release from Smoke Free Indy saying they'll be holding an "emergency press conference" on Monday, March 28 at 10:30am at the Little Red Door Cancer Agency. They want the bill amended to remove these exemptions.
While I have mixed feelings on smoking bans, I do have strong feelings on smoke, and I do my best to reduce my exposure to smoky bars when I do go out with friends. We tend to go to bars and other places that aren't packed to the brim, so even if there are smokers, the smoke isn't overwhelming. Or we might go during the off-hours when there just aren't as many people there. And there's always smoke-free venues, like the wonderful Radio Radio in Fountain Square.
My advice to the proponents of this bill? You're lucky to be getting this ban at all. I'd take what you can get, and if you think you have the political capital at another time, than work on expanding it. Because right now, you're at risk of getting no smoking ban instead of a partial ban.