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Senate Approves Statewide Smoking Ban -- Will the House be Next?

The Minnesota Senate voted Tuesday on the statewide smoking ban after much debate, and it passed 41-24. Next, it will go to the House of Representatives, where it will have more hoops to jump through to get passed. Governor Tim Pawlenty has said in the past that if the bill reached his desk, he would sign it.

According to the Star Tribune coverage of the event, here's what the bill says:

"The bill prohibits smoking in public places, aboard public transportation and at public meetings. Violations would be petty misdemeanors.

The measure allows bars, restaurants and bingo halls to build outdoor smoking patios. Electricity and heating would be allowed on the patios but not food or beverage service.

Hospitality workers would be eligible to use the state's Dislocated Worker Program if they lose their jobs because of the ban.

Exemptions include private residences and vehicles, hotel rooms, specific areas in nursing homes and some smoke shops. Local governments could impose stricter requirements; the state's Indian casinos would not be covered by the bill."

Because this event happened extremely recently on Tuesday, not much other information was available at the time, but more will surely be available in the next few days.

The Pioneer Press's article was very brief, and very vague. I wasn't sure exactly what the bill said, but the Star Tribune gave a nicely explained version of the stipulations of the bill, which was appreciated for someone like me who doesn't always follow political stuff very well.

This is a big event for Minnesotans, and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets alot of coverage in the next few days or weeks.

Continuing coverage to come .... what will the House do? How will this affect Minnesotans as a whole? We will see.....