Sunday, March 20, 2011

Smoke-Free Workplace Bills Left Pending in the Legislature

The Texas House voted to pass Bill 670 (8-2) out of committee, which bans smoking in the workplace to protect people from secondhand smoke, on March 9, 2011. The Senate voted on March 8, 2011 to pass the Bill 355 (5-3) out of committee. However, the bills are still pending in the legislature.  Smoke-Free Texas Coalition reported that at least 45 members of the House have signed on as authors or co-authors of Bill 670. Both the Senate and House heard over 70 personal testimonies from individuals and organizations who support the bills. Many residents are getting involved and supporting the bills. On March 10, 2011, Bishop Joe S. Vasquex of the Diocese of Austin wrote an op-ed letter to the Statesman urging Texas state leaders to “act now to pass a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law.” He wrote a great, to-the-point message, “The need for a law is clear: Secondhand smoke exposure is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.” You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Southern regional director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and co-chair of  the Smoke-Free Texas Coalition, Melinda Little, said, “The passage of House Bill 670 and Senate Bill 355 out of the respective committees this week contributes to the increasing momentum for a statewide smoke-free workplace law in Texas. We are excited about the rapid movement of the bills throughout the legislature thus far and look forward to the road ahead... A statewide smoke-free workplace law would improve the health and well-being of Texans across the state and would benefit the Texas economy by providing significant cost savings for businesses and taxpayers. All Texas employees deserve the right to breathe clean indoor air in the workplace.”

State Representatives are showing their support for a Smoke-Free Texas, here Myra Crownover explains why it is so important to pass this bill and gives her support for the cause.

See more YouTube videos of representatives supporting Smoke-Free Texas

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-Jennifer Neel

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