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Senate rejects going smoke free

Isabel Dakotan of Isabel, South Dakota

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Senate rejects going smoke free, but House still likely to take up issue

Pierre, February 3,2009-The SD State Senate chose bar, gaming, and video lottery interests over public health today by rejecting a measure to end all workplace smoking in the state including inside bars, restaurants, video lottery establishments and Deadwood Casinos.

Senate Bill 83, which passed unanimously out of committee Monday, failed on the Senate floor 17 to 18. It's a vote Stalley says is surprising considering the strong public support for going smoke free.

"Sixty-five percent of voters in South Dakota support ending workplace smoking. For the Senate to simply ignore the will of the people who elected them in favor of a narrow band of special interests is truly regrettable," said Stalley.

While today's vote was a setback it is by no means the end of the discussion. Supporters plan to ask the House to draft a similar measure with better results.

"We feel strongly that the will of the people, not special interest will eventually prevail in South Dakota as it has in dozens of other states," said Stalley. "Keeping people healthy at work is in everyone's best interest and we fully intend to keep working for a smoke free South Dakota."

Senate Bill 83 was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dave Knudson and co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Scott Heidpreim, House Majority Leader Bob Faehn and House Minority Leader Bernie Hun-hoff.

Twenty-four states including Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska have passed statewide smoke-free laws as a matter of public health.

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Original Publication Date: February 5, 2009

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