It was a celebratory day for fans of freedom in Mississippi on Tuesday, as a bill calling for a statewide smoking died in committee.
House Bill 1119 would have created a ban on all smoking in public places and places of employment, with no exemptions for cigar bars, lounges or similar venues. The bill was referred to the Public Health and Human Services Committee on January 21 and died there on February 5.
The bill’s abstract is as follows:
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES AND IN PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR VOLUNTARY DESIGNATION; TO PROVIDE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS AND RIGHTS OF PERSONS IN CONTROL; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO ENFORCE SMOKING PROHIBITIONS; TO PRESCRIBE EXEMPTIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THIS ACT; TO PRESCRIBE FINES AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; TO PRESCRIBE THE DUTIES OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH RELATIVE TO THIS ACT; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 29-5-161 AND 29-5-163, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH ARE THE MISSISSIPPI CLEAN INDOOR AIR ACT; TO PROVIDE FOR A REFERENDUM ON THE QUESTION OF THE PROHIBITION OF SMOKING IN PUBLIC PLACES AND IN PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT IN MISSISSIPPI AND TO CONDITION THE ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT ON THE RESULTS OF THAT REFERENDUM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
Also dying in committee on Tuesday was House Bill 1288, which would have clarified that any public or private employer would be allowed to ask a job applicant whether or not they use tobacco products.
While Mississippi’s smoking ban has been defeated for the time being, attention now turns to Missouri and Kentucky, both of whom have a statewide smoking ban in the works.