A statewide smoking ban has bipartisan support. It's called the “Breathe Free Wisconsin Act,” and Appleton Republican Steve Wieckert is the bill's author in the Assembly. “This is not symbolic legislation,” said Wieckert. “We're here to get the job done.” That job, say Wieckert and the Senate author, Madison Democrat Fred Risser, is to create a “level playing field” with a comprehensive, statewide smoking ban. Another Republican backer, Senator Carol Roessler of Oshkosh, talked about saving on health care costs. “If you care about dialing down the costs of health care, you're going to care about reducing the intake of smoke.” The Tavern League of Wisconsin opposes the bill without an exemption for its members. Wieckert was asked whether that's likely to happen: “one word answer. No.” Along with Madison, Appleton has the state's most comprehensive smoking ban, and Wieckert said it's proven popular with his constituents. State Representative Mark Gottlieb is among Republican lawmakers who've already signed on to the “Breathe Free Wisconsin Act.” The former Port Washington mayor and city council member said it's time to give local units of government a uniform standard for smoke free workplaces.
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