Kansas Indoor Clean Air Law Must Remain Strong
The 2010 Kansas Indoor Clean Air law has now been in effect for over two years. However, legislative action in 2011 and 2012 proposed possible weakening of the law by promoting additional exemptions. The 2013 session may see this effort continuing even though the vast majority of Kansas voters support the law and studies show no overall economic impact after the law was implemented. Kansans must ensure that any newly elected legislators in the Senate and the House understand thow popular this law is because of the health impact for Kansans.
HB 2690 re-referred to Health Committee
This bill which would have opened up smoking in businesses with employees and clients/customers over 21 years of age was shut down for the 2012 session. On a motion from Rep. Otto on May 4, 2012, the bill was re-referred to the House Heallh and Human Services Committee. The vote was 62 to 49 in favor of the motion. It is assumed that this bill will not get a hearing this late in the legislative session. At the end of this session all unpassed bills are dead.
HB 2690 threatens to weaken Kansas smokefree law
HB 2690. A hearing is set for March 12 at 1:30 PM before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee to allow private businesses to allow smoking on their premises if they restrict entrance and employees to those at least 21 years of age. Public health advocates will provide testimony against the proposal, and there will be followup actions proposed for grassroots response if members of the committee to pass the bil. Watch for further details.
Action Alert on Cuts to Tobacco Control Funding
In late February an action alert was issued by many public health organizations committed to tobacco control because a house budget subcommittee recommended cutting almost 2/3rds of the $1 million in allocations for tobacco prevention in Kansas. On March 2, 2012. the House Appropriation Committee has approved the cut, but only after a lengthy discussion in which legislative advocates questioned the impact of the cut, particularly after it was noted that the sponsor of the cut had admitted it was a mistake. An effort to restore the funding was defeated on a vote of 8 to 12, with many legislators noting the numbers of contacts from physicians and advocates decrying this decrease in funding. Click here for the alert that was sent on February 28 to the members of the House Appropriations committee. This cut is not yet finalized because the final budget determination will not take place till the end of the legislative session as House and Senate negotiatiors work through the differences in their respective budget recommendations. Currently, the Senate Ways and Means Committee projected budget does retain the full $1 million in funding as recommended by both Governor Brownback and the Children's Cabinet.
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