Monday, September 8, 2008
When the smoking ban goes into effect Thursday it will carry exemptions for bars that derive less than 20-percent of revenue from food, casinos and a list of other establishments. At the same time the law prohibits counties and municipalities other than Philadelphia from enacting tougher bans. State Representative Chelsa Wagner says she will introduce legislation to give Allegheny County 90 days to pass a tighter ban and Representative Dan Frankel says he will introduce a bill that would allow any local government to enforce tighter laws. He says he knows some bar owners will complain but the health of workers and residents outweighs the business interests. This summer the house did pass a law with fewer exemptions but it was scaled back in conference committee. Wagner and Frankel say they feel there is now the political will in both chambers to tighten some of those loopholes. Frankel says since the state failed in its duty to protect the health of Pennsylvanians local governments should be given the ability to do it right.