Louisiana Senate rejects smoking ban extension

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Senate has refused to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of the entrance to any building where smoking already is banned, even after the measure was limited to state-owned buildings.

Louisiana prohibits smoking in restaurants, public places, public buildings and many places of employment.

As approved by the House, West Monroe Rep. Frank Hoffmann's proposal would have extended the ban to within 25 feet of those buildings' entrances and to their wheelchair ramps.

But senators said in downtowns and areas like the French Quarter, the 25-foot ban could eliminate smoking outside entirely. So, the Senate limited the measure to state-owned buildings.

That wasn't enough to win passage. Senators voted 18-16 Tuesday for the proposal. It needed 20 votes to pass.

House Bill 378 can be found at www.legis.la.gov

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)