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Bills of goods: Senate Bill 258 – Florida Clean Indoor Air Act

Bill would allow municipalities to restrict smoking

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What it says: SB 258 amends the decade-old Florida Clean Indoor Act to allow municipalities and counties to restrict smoking on certain properties, including outdoor areas.

What we say: The cigar lobby is going to ignite over this one. In the past, municipal governments were pre-empted by state laws when it came to smoking regulations for outdoor areas. Recent statewide campaigns including gasmasks have given the (smoky) air of discouraging smoking in public places, but proponents of those measures hid behind their inability to challenge state law. This bill stops short of an outright ban. Public beaches, parks and recreation centers will be included; sidewalks and streets will not. Also, it's been amended to lessen penalties, because this is a free country.

Odds of passage: Pretty good. Some hesitation from corporate interests afraid of having to pay for changes to accommodate customers has arisen (also, a similar bill died last year), but the SB 258 sailed through it's first committee last week on a unanimous vote, and it does have a House companion bill.

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