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Westrom: Kentucky Smoking Ban Bill Is Dead For This Legislative Session

The sponsor of a bill that would ban smoking in public places and some private businesses in Kentucky says House Democratic leadership has killed the measure.

Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington, says a combination of pressure from lobbying groups and political concerns of colleagues with tobacco farms in their districts were behind the bill's failure.

“Some of our leadership polled here on the floor, they weren’t convinced that we had the votes," Westrom said. "And, quite frankly, I just don’t think they wanted to risk it in case it was an uncomfortable vote for somebody.”

Westrom says some lawmakers were likely “scared” by lobbyists.

Tobacco companies have spent handsomely this year, at $70,000 in lobbying expenditures in the first month of the session.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo denies that leadership killed the bill. He says support for it dwindled as the session continued.

Original post:

A contentious Kentucky bill that would enact a statewide ban on smoking in shared public spaces and places of employment won't fly this legislative session according to its sponsor.

Democratic Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington says that despite high public approval and Democratic leadership urging progress on the bill, it's unlikely to be taken up for a vote on the House floor this session. Westrom says it's due to pressure from lobbying organizations and some lawmakers.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he didn't kill the bill but that it had been steadily losing support since being filed. Westrom says she remains hopeful that companion legislation in the Senate will pass both chambers.

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