Senate Votes Down Smoking Ban

The third time wasn’t a charm for proponents of legislation that would have ended smoking cigarettes in bars statewide.

By a vote of 22-15, the state Senate rejected a bill by state Sen. Rob Marionneaux Jr., D-Livonia, to end smoking cigarettes in bars. Marionneaux’s original legislation included casinos, but a House committee that passed the measure took casinos out before the bill headed to the floor. The Times-Picayune reports that Marionneaux tried again to include casinos before the vote, but the Senate voted down that measure, too.

Wednesday’s vote marked at least the third time that legislation to end smoking cigarettes in bars and casinos has been rejected:

Supporters said the bill is needed to protect the health of bartenders, waitresses and others who work in smoke-filled environments, citing figures that show hundreds of deaths in Louisiana each year can be attributed to secondhand smoke.

But opponents said the bill would hit the state in the pocketbook by driving smokers - and the tax revenue they bring in - to other states.