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Alaska Smoking Ban Bill Advancing, Meets Staunch Opponent Today

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A proposed smoking bill that is referred to as the “take it outside act” is continuing to gain traction in the Alaska Legislature, passing the Senate’s Judiciary Committee with four of the seven members voting for its advancement, two to amend it and one member voting with no recommendation.

The bill, S.B. 63, was introduced by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Kenai/Soldotna, back in February 2017, and passed the Senate by a 15-5 vote in March. Once it was transferred to the House at the end of that month, it stagnated in its journey after the House Community & Regional Affairs Committee. It ended up being moved to the House Judiciary Committee after a 3-3-1 vote, though it didn’t receive its first action by that group until just about a week ago.

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It now heads to the House Rules Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing at 6:15 p.m. local time today, and is likely to meet its toughest critic, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, who chairs the committee. She effectively killed a similar bill in 2016 and has remained a staunch opponent of the bill.

The bill effectively bans smoking in enclosed public places, including restaurants and bars, though doesn’t go after parks or other open spaces. Retail tobacco stores that get at least 90 percent of their sales from tobacco would gain an exemption from the ban, as would private clubs in operation as of Jan. 1, 2017.

The bill has added a number of cosponsors in both chambers of the legislature since its debut; eight senators have signed on as well as 21 state representatives.

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About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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