A bill that would have allowed for the creation and licensing of cigar bars that had been making its way through the Montana Legislature came to a halt on Friday when a Senate committee tabled it after objection from healthcare officials.
The bill, HB 285, created an exemption to the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act for bard that generated 10 percent of their revenue from the sale of cigars. Sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Trebas, R-Great Falls. the bill passed the House by a 55-43 vote on Feb. 24.
While it found support among some Senate Judiciary Committee members, it was the testimony of a dozen individuals speaking on behalf of the healthcare industry and health advocacy groups who said that passage of the bill would lead to an increase in cancer as well as lung and heart disease among both patrons and employees.
Their argument was convincing enough to get the committee to table the bill, and while not officially dead, it would have to be taken up by the same Judiciary Committee for it to advance to the Senate floor for a vote.