Republicans oppose ban on smoking
SUMMIT COUNTY – The statewide smoking ban movement is burning a little less hot now after the bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver, found more opposition than he expected.All 17 Republican senators oppose the measure because it infringes on personal freedom and property rights, reported The Denver Post Wednesday.The opposition didn’t surprise Rep. Gary Lindstrom, D-Breckenridge, who supports the measure and has said he would co-sponsor a bill in the House of Representatives.Lindstrom, a former Summit County commissioner who was instrumental in getting Summit County’s smoking ban passed in 2003, is also not deterred by the opposition.”As far as I’m concerned, (the measure) is alive and well,” Lindstrom said Wednesday. “We never thought that it would not be opposed. The more something is opposed, the harder I want to work on it.”Lindstrom said he supports smoking bans as a way to address health care problems. The proposal was announced by Grossman and Lindstrom on the steps of the state Capitol March 16. It received support form the Colorado Restaurant Association, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and health care professionals.Senate Minority Leader Mark Hillman, R-Burlington, told the Post the bill would impinge on the motives of people who want to allow adults to make adult decisions.Lindstrom said Hillman’s sentiment is widespread in the legislature.”There’s a prevailing attitude in both parties that they feel it’s wrong for state government to create laws that interfere with people’s behavior,” Lindstrom said.The attitude won’t dissuade him, Lindstrom said.”It doesn’t distress me at all. If I hadn’t gone through my experience in Summit County, I might feel differently.” The public smoking ban in Summit County was supported by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Since the ban took effect last June, several bar owners have complained that it is negatively impacting sales.Grossman told the Post that he delayed introducing the bill in the Senate to avoid making it a partisan issue.Lindstrom said he would take direction from Grossman on proceeding with the measure, but added that he didn’t think a ballot question was necessary, citing statewide surveys that indicate more than 70 percent of state residents support smoking bans.”Are you going to keep asking the same question over and over again when you just keep getting the same answer?” Lindstrom asked. “That’s the definition of insanity.”Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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