A limited statewide smoking ban appeared dead for the 2011 session on Thursday after a House-Senate conference committee stripped it from a must-pass revenue measure.
Sponsored by Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, the measure would outlaw smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants. Pool halls, cigar bars and charitable bingo were exempted from the bill.
The House, in an amendment by Crownover, included the ban in the revenue measure late last week but House and Senate negotiators writing a final version of the bill Thursday voted to eliminate it. The ban was supported by four of the five House conferees but none of the five representatives from the Senate.
"I am extremely disappointed that the will of the people has again been thwarted by the Texas Legislature when it comes to passing Smoke-Free legislation," said Ellis.
Crownover, saying she was not ready to proclaim the bill dead, met with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the Senate's presiding officer and a smoking ban supporter, in an attempt to salvage the proposal.
"We're still working last minute miracles and magic," Crownover told the Star-Telegram. "The lieutenant governor is working on it right now. We're optimistic."
-- Dave Montgomery