A passionate and sometimes colorful debate took place this afternoon over SB 130 which would eliminate smoking in most public places.
Senator Vivian Figures has been a pioneer of this legislation for the past 11 years and saw some success in 2003 with the passage of measures banning smoking in certain public places and establishing requirements for designated smoking areas in public establishments. This bill would extend the areas in which smoking is prohibited.
In an emotional appeal, Senator Figures emphatically stated that “we are playing politics with people’s lives. I want a fair chance and a fair debate – a fair chance for it to come up or down. 80% of Alabamians want a smoke-free state. It is our obligation and duty to protect the health and welfare of the citizens of Alabama”
Senator Bishop raised concerns of this bill taking away the individual rights of citizens. He definitely got the attention of the chamber when he expressed “When someone can’t smoke or have sex in their private office we are in bad shape!”
Ultimately, the bill has been carried over for discussion at a later date.