Smoking ban fires up debate at state capitol

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The debate over the statewide smoking ban continues at the Capitol.

One representative went so far as to say that House Bill 190 was
perhaps the most important piece of legislation to come out of this session.

Today the House Judiciary Committee met to examine that bill further, and property rights were one of their main concerns.

Democratic Rep. Brent Yonts of House District 15 said, "What is a place of employment and a public place of business in the sense of the farmer who is in the stripping shed, stripping tobacco, hiring people to help strip tobacco? They smoke regularly."

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson testified in support of the bill.

Some legislators said they didn't necessarily oppose the spirit of the bill, but that certain parts of it were problematic. One said the bill could inadvertently outlaw the practice of raising dark fire tobacco.

Republican Rep. Steven Rudy of House District 1 said, "I can't support this bill without some some kind of cleanup caveat for that."

The bill would also prohibit smoking within 15 feet of the entrance to places of work.

Representative Westrom said its unclear if there's enough time left in the session to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. If not, she says she's optimistic it would pass next year.