The House Health and Welfare committee heard hours of
testimony on a statewide smoking ban that would include casinos and bars. The
bill by Opelousas Democrat Dustin Miller was voluntarily yanked, so he can work
on the language of the measure. If passed it would virtually ban smoking in
just about every public building in the state.
“It’s been suggested that, “Hey, this isn’t a ban. It’s ok. They can just step outside.” The problem is if you ask somebody to step
outside in a boat, you’re in the water,” said Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association.
Brent Rochon is a cardiologist who testified in favor of the
“With our lifestyle especially in Louisiana… the boudin, the
cracklin, the etouffee, the rice and dressing, the gumbo… we do enough for
ourselves. Let’s keep the gumbo and let’s
lose the smoke,” said Rochon.
Lobbyist Alton Ashy says this legislation will have a negative
impact of video poker halls.
“So, we’re talking about real money, we’re talking about
Louisiana jobs, we’re talking about Louisiana business owners, and I just ask
that you take that into consideration when you’re pondering your decision,” said
Reagan Carter is a member of the Louisiana Public Health coalition
who supports the bill.
“This is not a smoking ban. This is a clear air policy that will require individuals who choose to
smoke while visiting bars and casinos, and other gaming facilities, to simply step
outside,” said Carter.
Miller says he will bring the bill back in two weeks.