Gov. Tim Kaine, the DNC chairman and celebrated “moderate” governor of Virginia, is mad because the legislature won’t ban cigarette smoking in most bars and restaurants. It seems this will be his signature issue. After all, nothing else important is going on in the world!
Gov. Tim Kaine signaled his displeasure Tuesday with the weakened ban on smoking in restaurants and bars that emerged from the House a day before, urging lawmakers to restore the original bill while stopping short of a veto threat.
The House’s final passage of the smoking ban leaves the Democrat-controlled Senate to contemplate a watered-down version of the measure, which may represent the only chance of passing such a ban this year.
The original bill, a carefully constructed compromise between Kaine and House Speaker William Howell, R-Stafford, created exceptions to allow smoking in private clubs and in separately ventilated, closed-off areas.
The House bill passed Tuesday – nine miles from tobacco giant Philip Morris’ U.S. headquarters – would allow patrons to light up when an establishment has been reserved for a private function or when minors are excluded. It also would delay the ban’s implementation until January and require that a restaurant’s smoking area be closed off or separately ventilated, not both.
“We made a deal,” Kaine told reporters at a new conference in Richmond. “Folks said we’re going to stand up and support a bill that has very defined provisions in it. We need to get back to the deal.”
A statewide bar and restaurant smoking ban likely would be considered Kaine’s paramount policy achievement during a term that – despite its broad political successes – has seen scant legislative victories. The governor remained optimistic, lauding the ban’s unprecedented advancement in the House, albeit with amendments “not to my liking.”
More “bipartisanship” from Democratic “moderates”!
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