Delaware Senate set to snuff out smoking
DOVER - A bill that would extinguish smoking in virtually all public places will be voted on by the Senate Tuesday, its sponsor said.
Sen. David B. McBride, D-Hawks Nest, said Thursday that Senate leadership asked him to put the measure on the agenda quickly.
The House of Representatives passed the bill last week and stripped Senate-approved amendments that watered it down.
The Senate originally passed the bill last year and included exemptions for bars and slot-machine venues. The House took those out but added an exemption for fraternal clubs and fire halls.
"The Senate will debate it and vote accordingly," Sen. McBride said. "I am hopeful the Senate will realize the importance of this. The House of Representatives took a giant step toward improving the public health in Delaware."
Senate President Pro Tempore Thomas B. Sharp, D-Pinecrest, said he was unsure of the bill's fate, but thought it would pass. No amendments are likely to be tacked on, he added.
"I don't know if it will get two votes, five votes, 12 votes or 21 votes," Sen. Sharp said. "But if I was a betting man, I would bet it will pass as is."
Sen. Sharp said he asked Sen. McBride to schedule a vote soon so the legislation would not be overshadowed by action on fiscal measures later in the session.
"The later we get into the year, the more issues we have to deal with," Sen. Sharp said. "The budget issues will take a considerable amount of time. I suggested that the sponsor work it quickly so it would not be caught up."
The time gained by not waiting until June for a Senate vote allows the House time to act on any amendments the Senate may make.
The measure has the support of Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who last week said she would like to see fraternal clubs and fire halls included in the smoking ban.