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Opening Arguments

Not exactly comprehensive

The American Cancer Society: You know, it's almost like the senators are doing this on purpose because secretly they don't really want the ban to pass:

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana senators on Tuesday gutted a proposal to ban smoking statewide, leading anti-tobacco advocates to oppose the severely weakened measure.

Senators voted to exempt bars and charitable gambling operations from the proposed ban. They also expanded other carve-outs already added by House lawmakers, including exemptions for the state's gambling industry, private clubs like VFW lodges and tobacco and cigar stores.

Yeah, and it's not even that much of a secret. If you announce that each exception to a smoking ban will make your support for the ban weaker, and the Senate responds by adding even more exceptions than the House included, it shouldn't take a genuius to figure out the Senate is not on your side.

This "gutted proposal" should be opposed not just by anti-smoking advocates but also by anybody who thinks legislation should be coherent. Putting all these exceptions in a "comprehensive" ban undercuts every single argument in favor of a ban. If it's true that a ban would hurt one business, wouldn't it hurt them all? Do employees of bars deserve less protection that those of restaurants?

But perhaps it's too much to ask for coherence from a General Assembly that requires seat belts but not motorcycle helmets, and that is prepared to permit Sunday motorcycle sales but not car sales.