Thursday, January 11, 2007
Article in the Chicago Tribune -- Legislator proposes statewide public smoking ban, by John Chase and Monique Garcia:
Though a patchwork of cities and suburbs already have banned smoking in public places, state lawmakers today introduced legislation that would prohibit smoking in all public spots in Illinois -- from taverns and restaurants to stores and bowling alleys.
State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago), who introduced the bill, said the time has come for Illinois to join more than a dozen other states with broad smoking bans. He said medical studies prove secondhand smoke is dangerous to patrons and employees, especially those working in bars and restaurants.
"We need to level the playing field for all workplaces and provide the same health privileges to workers and patrons throughout Illinois. Many municipalities are waiting eagerly on the sidelines for the state to act on this matter, and it's about time we do that," Cullerton said.
Legislative leaders and the governor reacted cautiously to the measure, one of the first bills to be introduced in the newly minted General Assembly. The offices of Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) said they wanted to see the legislation first.