UPDATE: State Legislature passes smoking ban - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: State Legislature passes smoking ban

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MADISON (WKOW) -- After hours of debate, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a proposed statewide smoking ban.

The ban includes almost all work places, bars and restaurants.

Speaker Mike Sheridan's office says the bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 61-38.

The senate passed the bill earlier in the day 25-8.

The Assembly received the proposed statewide smoking ban around 5 p.m. and assembly members attempted to tack on 25 amendments to the bill passed by the state senate.

The smoking ban proposal passed just after 10 p.m. Wednesday night, without any amendments.

It now heads to Governor Jim Doyle's desk where he could sign it into law or veto it.

The ban would go into affect July 2010.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A proposed statewide smoking ban for public places in Wisconsin passed the state senate Wednesday afternoon.

The state assembly was expected to take up the ban later today, with passage expected in the democratically-controlled house.

The vote in favor of the smoking ban in the senate was 25-8.

"The most important thing this bill will do is it will save lives,"  ban author Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) said.   "It will also save money for taxpayers."

The proposed ban on smoking extends to restaurants and taverns, with backers saying it provides protection for workers from second hand smoke.   Backers also said the ban levels the business playing field, since it replaces a patchwork of smoking bans in Wisconsin cities which in some cases allows one bar to allow smoking, while another within a few blocks must prohibit it.

Middleton democrat and smoker Jon Erpenbach said he's learned from experience habits can change to accommodate the ban.   "It's  not tough to get off the bar stool and go out and smoke." 

Senators rejected all proposed amendments, with some saying the ban proposal was a fragile, carefully crafted proposal with input from interests as diverse as the American Cancer Society and the Wisconsin Tavern League.   One of the proposed amendments was to allow hotels and motels to reserve fifteen percent of their space for smoking rooms to help them compete with motels in border states such as Illinois and Minnesota, where smoking is banned, but allowed as an exception in designated smoking rooms at hotels and motels.

The ban would take effect in July 2010 and would supercede a patchwork of bans in more than three dozen Wisconsin cities.

Visit wkowtv.com and watch 27 News at 5, 6, 6:30 and 10 p.m. for more developments.



(MADISON) WKOW - A proposal to allow hotels and motels to set aside up to fifteen percent of their lodging for smoking rooms stalled debate in the Wisconsin state senate on a proposed, statewide smoking ban in public places.

Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said the exemption would allow hotel and motel operators to compete with their counterparts in border states, such as Minnesota, where a smoking ban has a similar exemption.

Smoking ban author Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) said the ban is a fragile, negotiated compromise between many competing interests and urged no amendments to the ban proposal.

The proposed amending of the ban to carve out the exemption for the hospitality industry led senators to recess, with majority democrats going behind closed doors to discuss the development.

Earlier, senators voted to reject consideration of a hotel exemption involving twenty percent of rooms.

Members of the state assembly told 27 News that chamber is waiting to see the results of the senate consideration before taking up the smoking ban proposal. 



Democratic Senator Fred Risser of Madison said today that passage of a statewide smoking ban would begin to save lives and save Wisconsin millions of dollars in healthcare costs.

Risser's remarks came as the Senate debated the proposed ban.

In arguing unsuccessfully for an exemption for nursing homes, Republican Senator Glenn Grothman conceded the proposal would pass.

The proposal would give restaurants, taverns and hotels one year to comply with the ban.

The proposal would also end a patchwork of smoking bans in more than three dozen Wisconsin cities.

The State Assembly is also scheduled to debate the proposed smoking ban today.

Stay with www.wkowtv.com for continuing updates throughout the day, as well as 27 News at 5, 6, 6:30, and 10 for the latest debate and vote results.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The State Senate is said to be convening soon to take up the statewide smoking ban. The State Assembly will quickly follow and it appears neither of the houses will be caucusing.

Reporter Tony Galli is at the Capitol and will be filing reports on wkowtv.com as the day progresses.

WKOW related news:

WI Legislative leaders announce details of state smoking ban plan 5/07/09

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