Smoking Ban passes the House of Delegates
Smoking in bars and restaurants is certain to come to an end, after controversial legislation in the General Assembly made it past its most difficult obstacle. Members of the Republican controlled House of Delegates passed the bill today, less than a week after Governor Tim Kaine announced a compromise plan with Speaker William Howell to push his pet project through.
While the bill’s passage was expected, it was anything but certain. The Speaker never guaranteed that he had the votes, and the state’s most prominent Republican, outgoing Attorney General and Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, signaled that he was not in favor of its passage. The bill ended up passing the House by a comfortable margin of 61-38.
This new compromise piece of legislation will now have to pass the Senate and then be signed by Governor Kaine before it officially becomes law.
**UPDATE** The bill apparently still has a few legislative hoops to jump through before getting to Kaine’s desk. It will be voted on again tomorrow in the House, along with some amendments regarding its implementation. The legislation’s differences also need to be reconciled with the Senate version.
This all appears to be housekeeping work that needs to be done. The big hurdle has been cleared and by this time next year, smoking in most bars and restaurants in Virginia will be a thing of the past.