A proposal for a Kentucky statewide smoking ban has cleared its first hurdle. The House Health and Welfare committee passed the bill today. The measure was expected to pass easily, but a few Republicans did vote against the measure because of concern for individual property rights.
Lexington doctor Sylvia Cerel-Suhl supports the ban. She says it’s her right to go out in public and not be subjected to second-hand smoke.
“Frankly this is a property rights issue. I and you and everyone here have the right to breathe clean air. It is a property right issue. We all have the right to breathe clean air. Anyone can smoke in their own home, in their own car, in own their own yard, but in a public space we all have the right to breathe clean air,” she says.
Even though the bill may pass the House, its future is uncertain because of a lack of support in the state Senate.
Susan Westrom is the bill’s House sponsor. She says she won’t call the bill for a floor vote if she can’t convince enough senators to support the bill in their chamber.
That uncertainty didn’t stop Cerel-Suhl from cheering the moment.
“This is a life cost issue. We don’t need people who are at work or who are in public having to suffer from something they are not doing. And that’s why this is such a wonderful historic moment. Getting this out of committee is a way to being to help educate our legislators on how to help the citizens of Kentucky,” she says.