Virginia Governor Proposes Smoking Banby Doug Mataconis
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine wants to make it illegal to smoke in restaurants in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
RICHMOND, March 26 — Smoking would be banned in Virginia restaurants under a proposal announced Monday by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D).
Kaine said he will ask lawmakers to enact the smoking ban when they return to Richmond next week for a day.
Kaine’s proposed amendment to anti-smoking legislation could have national implications. In other states, anti-smoking advocates have had more difficulty approving a smoking ban in restaurants than in workplaces and public places. By proposing a restaurant-only ban, the governor is likely to create additional pressure in other states to do the same, advocates said.
The original bill, which Virginia law gives the Governor the right to propose amendments to which the Assembly then votes on, was not perfect but at least allowed restaurant owners the option of allowing smoking in their establishments:
The original bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), would have allowed restaurants to permit smoking so long as they posted a sign near the entrance explicitly stating that smoking is allowed.
Kaine’s comment on the original bill is almost nonsensical:
“I appreciate the patron’s intent with this legislation, but felt amendments were necessary,” Kaine said. “I remain opposed to a widespread, general ban on smoking in public. This bill, with my amendment, is narrowly targeted to prevent smoking in restaurants, which is an important step to protect the health of both patrons and employees.”
Governor, you do realize that a widespread, general ban on smoking in restaurants is exactly what you’re proposing, don’t you ?