Plucky State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, usually introduces a statewide smoking ban just to watch it die in the Senate. This year, he pulled his own bill rather than see it killed by fellow Democrats in the House:
As written, the bill would ban smoking in all public places except casinos, an exception Brown said he made to avoid becoming a target of gaming lobbyists. However, the bill was amended three times Monday, with Brown offering the first.
Brown's amendment would exempt new casinos from local smoking ordinances if such a law exists in the community. The second amendment, offered by Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, would exempt bars, taverns, private clubs and fraternal organizations.
That, Brown said, defeated the point of his bill.
"I can't for the life of me figure out some of the members of my own caucus," Brown said.
The third amendment, offered by Rep. Edward Clere, R-New Albany, exempted tobacco businesses from the smoking ban. After it passed, Brown saw more amendments coming and pulled his bill.
Brown's argument that those offering exceptions to the ban were trying to kill the bill (which of course they were) would have sounded a little better had he himself not exempted casinos. As my colleague across the hall Frank Gray notes, it's a case of money speaking and legislators listening:
The truth is, casinos bring in a lot of money