The House of Representatives announced a push for smoking ban legislation at a news conference at the Indiana Statehouse Thursday.
The legislation, titled House Bill 1149, would prohibit smoking in public places among other enclosed areas. Additionally, the ban will ban smoking in certain state vehicles and within 12 feet of a public entrance.
There are exemptions to the ban, though. Those include gaming facilities, cigar and hookah bars, and social, fraternal, and veterans clubs.
"As long as their membership votes to be exempt from a smoking ban," said Representative P. Eric Turner (R-Cicero).
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He said he was optimistic it will pass the house. He said it has passed out of the house five times. Senator Ron Alting, who is the Chairman of the Public Policy Committee, said last year was the first time they heard the bill in committee. At that time, he said they did not call for the vote because of the lack of support. Senator Alting said it is hard to say what will happen this time around.
According to Representative Turner, the legislation could pass in time for the Super Bowl. He said he hopes it will pass -at least- by March 1, which is the deadline for the General Assembly.
"We would join more than 50 percent of the population across the country that has a comprehensive smoking ban," said Turner.
"If we can improve the health of just one Hoosier by passing a comprehensive smoking ban, I believe we have taken a step forward,” said Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville). “The most important thing we can do as leaders in our communities is to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.”
Slippery Noodle Owner Hal Yeagy said as of Jan. 2, their business became entirely smoke-free. The Slippery Noodle is about two blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium. For about six months, only their back room was smoke-free. Yeagy said it was a business decision to make the entire place smoke-free.
"It started getting way too smokey up here. You could definitely tell a difference from the front building to the back building," Yeagy said. "The Super Bowl helped just because of that and trying to put on the best face that we possibly can from the smoking standpoint (and) from a cleanup standpoint," Yeagy said.
From now until the Super Bowl, Yeagy said they are cleaning everything, repainting and adding television sets too. When a customer walks into the Slippery Noodle, they will notice the change because there are signs posted all over the building.
"We're doing our best to try to let everyone know up front. We've had a few complaints," Yeagy said.
Yeagy smokes. He said he is getting used to going outside. He said he will make sure to add plenty of heaters outside.
He also said he is okay with a statewide ban because it would even the playing field. Even if it doesn't pass, Yeagy believes he will keep his business smoke-free.
"If we're paying all that money, I don't want to have it nicotined rather quickly," Yeagy said.
He mentioned it will cost him roughly $85,000 to clean the Slippery Noodle.