Smoking bans will get taken up on both ends of Market Street Monday. The Indiana House of Representatives will vote on a proposal that would ban smoking in most public places except casinos and racinos, cigar bars, private clubs, and hookah bars. It would also grant an 18-month exemption to bars and taverns in order to give them time to adapt to a new ban.
At the City-County building, the Council will take up a ban that does pretty much the same thing, without an exemption for bars and taverns. However the CCC version would ban smoking in private clubs if they allow people under 18.
From what I’ve been able to gather, both measures are on thin ice and may never become law. On the state level, members of the House are all over the place on a smoking ban. There are members who want a total ban, some that want no ban, some that want a ban with exemptions, etc. And even if the House were able to get something through (which it has in the past), over on the Senate, things are still as sketchy because lawmakers are still all over the place and there is no real concensus.
On the city side, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has told me that he will not sign a smoking ban that doesn’t give some leeway to private clubs. The issue is whether a club can be smoking and still allow minors, especially if the minors and smoke will never come into contact with each other because they are on separate floors. City-County Councilor Ryan Vaughn reportedly plans to offer an amendment that pretty much does that and the Mayor has made it clear that is the only way he will sign a smoking ban.
Democrat Angela Mansfield, smoking ban author, has accused the Mayor of flip-flopping on the issue. Regardless, Democrats may have enough votes to pass a smoking ban, but they do not have enough votes to override a Mayoral veto, especially after the move by CCC member Vernon Brown to reduce the number of Republicans on committees. That apparently has caused a lot of bad blood and practically guaranteed that Democrats will never be able to override a veto (which takes 20 votes) anytime soon.