Proposals to alter smoking laws fail in legislature


PIERRE (CNS) – Legislation that would alter the second-hand smoking laws in South Dakota will have to wait until next legislative session, State Sen. Arnold Brown, R-Brookings said.

Two bills have been introduced during this year’s legislative session that would alter a law passed last year that limits smoking in most public areas. Each one has so far lacked support needed to pass.

Senate Bill 106, which allowed smoking in establishments without liquor licenses, failed 13-20 in the Senate Feb. 18. Senate Bill 64, which failed to pass out of committee on Jan. 27, would have decreased the number of restaurants that could allow smoking.

The current law prohibits smoking in restaurants that don’t have liquor licenses.

Dr. Rob Allison of the State Medical Association argued that the freedom of choice for smokers is an imposition on a nonsmoker’s choice to be healthy.

“This is a huge step backwards,” State Sen. Royal McCracken, R-Rapid City, said. He said the new legislation would only put loopholes in last year’s law.

The current law has only existed seven months, State Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, said, and the state should give the public time to work with last year’s law before legislators create new mandates. The law went into effect on July 1, 2002.