Legislation creating a statewide smoking ban advances out of an Assembly Committee.
The bill was passed by the Assembly Public Health Committee Tuesday on a 6-3 bi-partisan vote. State Representative "Doc" Hines (R-Oxford), who chairs the panel, says it's about the public health and the health of the citizens of the state of Wisconsin.
The proposal would ban smoking in all public places by January 1, 2009. The committee rejected an amendment that would have extended the deadline for taverns to go smoke free until 2011.
State Representative Spencer Black (D-Madison) says it protects the health of customers and those who work in bars and restaurants. He says it's not right to force employees to work in environments that can harm them.
The vote comes as the Governor joins with Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to push for a statewide smoking ban.
Wauwatosa Republican Leah Vukmir was among members voting against the bill. Vukmir says the bill denies business owners the right to decide what goes on in their establishments.
The bill now heads to the Assembly floor, but it's uncertain if it will get a vote before the end of the session.