The Trib reports that the State Senate has passed a broad funding bill, pertaining to State Preservation, which includes a particular amendment by Senator Whitmire. Whitmire successfully introduced an amendment to ban smoking on the grounds of the State Capitol.
The measure would make the offense a Class C Misdemeanor, similar to smoking on school grounds. Evidently, the Department of Public Safety would be enforcing the measure. The roll call vote passed the amendment 23 to 6. All six nay votes were Republicans, surprise surprise. Thankfully, my State Senator, Joan Huffman, was not among them. According to the Trib article, Huffman lauded the “conservative approach” of Senator Whitmire.
I was just at the Capitol last weekend, and I didn’t notice too much smoke. However, it was Easter weekend and the legislature wasn’t in session, so I suppose it isn’t really a fair comparison. Austin is a nice city to be outside in, and smokers shouldn’t ruin it for everyone. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that UT bans smoking on campus. I have yet to find a single college in Boston that can say the same. It seems that once it becomes warm enough to go outside here, the nicotine slaves come out in full force. I certainly can empathize with the Senators who discussed their problems with having to walk through clouds of smoke to get to the building.