Sen. Jim Buck told a crowd of people at a Third House session in Kokomo Saturday that he opposes legislation to impose a statewide smoking ban in Indiana.
Buck joined Rep. Mike Karickhoff and Rep. Heath VanNatter at the session on the Indiana University Kokomo campus sponsored by the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance.
With more than 250 people in attendance, many of whom were there to discuss right-to-work legislation, the three lawmakers talked about the smoking ban and a
legislative change in school choice being advocated by Karickhoff.
During his opening remarks, Buck said state Republican Party leaders want to pass legislation for right-to-work, a statewide smoking ban and stiffer penalties for human trafficking before Indianapolis hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
“Historically I have voted against a statewide smoking ban,” Buck said, “locals can pass an ordinance. Local units of government want the state to pass a ban and the state wants local government to do it.”
Buck said he prefers passage of local ordinances to ban smoking.
He said people want to ban smoking, but do not want restrictions on the sale or use of tobacco.
However, a group of legislators has proposed limiting the sale of tobacco products to the hours in which a curfew is in effect for teenagers, he said. Buck said that would prevent the sale of tobacco to minors.
“We can’t eliminate smoking, but we can regulate it,” Buck said.
VanNatter said he voted against the statewide smoking ban in 2011.
“It comes down to the exemptions,” he said. “There are some that want a ban everywhere. Most lawmakers want to see some exemptions included in the bill.”
VanNatter said he supports exemptions from the smoking ban for private clubs and bars.
Karickhoff said he supported passage of the smoking ordinance in Kokomo as a member of the common council and he is now in favor of a statewide ban.