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Thursday, May 01, 2003

Westports State Sen. Judith Freedman

Westports State Sen. Judith Freedman Backs Smoking Ban Bill
WestportҒs State Sen. Judith G. Freedman (R-26) was among lawmakers who approved a bill late Wednesday to ban smoking in all restaurants and bars, as well as all work places with more than five employees.

The Senate passed the bill, 26-7, with bipartisan support, and it is expected to go before the House shortly.

Freedman was one of eight Senate Republicans who crossed party lines and voted for the bill while the seven others opposed it, including the Republican leader and deputy leader.

Democrats hold a 21-15 majority in the Senate. Three senators were absent—all Democrats.

Supporters said the ban would reduce the dangers of secondhand smoke for both workers and patrons of those establishments. The ban would not apply to private clubs such as those of current fraternal organizations.

Gov. John G. Rowland predicted today that the bill would easily pass the House and he said he would sign it.

The legislation, if approved by the House and once signed by Rowland, would go into effect Oct. 1. But the bar-ban would not begin until April 1, 2004.

California and Delaware currently have statewide bans on smoking in restaurants and bars, and a statewide ban in New York will start in July.

Numerous cities and towns in other states have enacted their own bans on smoking in restaurants, but Connecticut law prohibits individual municipalities from banning smoking in public places.



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