Round 2 for failed Texas smoking ban bill

Sept. 9, 2010 at 9:21 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Backers of a failed bill to ban smoking in Texas say they'll bring the bill back and opponents say they'll fight it again, calling it government intrusion.

Republican state Rep. Myra Crownover and Democratic state Sen. Rodney Ellis, lead sponsors of the 2009 bill, plan to reintroduce the proposed statewide ban when the 2011 Legislature convenes in January, their offices said.

Peggy Venable, Texas director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which advocates limited government and free markets, said the group planned to bury the bill again.

"We're concerned about it -- not because we want to encourage more people to smoke, but because we care about property rights and individual freedoms," Venable, a non-smoker, told the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram.

James Gray of the American Cancer Society, a member of the Smoke-Free Texas coalition, said the 2011 bill, like the 2009 version, would ban smoking in workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.

Twenty-two states prohibit smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

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