Crownover: Smoking Ban Dead, Again

Many thought this was the year. But Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, acknowledged on Saturday that a measure establishing a statewide smoking ban in Texas is dead. 

Crownover blamed its failure on a "handful" of Senate conferees who refused to keep a smoking ban amendment on Senate Bill 1811, a sweeping fiscal matters bill. She said the amendment would have saved taxpayers $30 million in Medicaid spending over the next biennium. 

"I am proud of the work we did this session. We passed this legislation in committee in both chambers and won a major victory on the House floor," Crownover said. "Science, logic and reasoning are on our side now, and 10 years from now the idea of smoking in a restaurant will be as bizarre an idea as smoking on an airplane is today."

Crownover said that by raw numbers, she had a majority of votes in both the House and Senate to pass the smoking ban. But because of Senate rules, which require a two-thirds vote to bring bills to the floor, "a unified minority" blocked her legislation. 

"What really bothers me is that somewhere in a small town in Texas there is an expectant mother working in a cafe who has no option, other than the job she has, to feed her family," Crownover said. "Cigarette smoke is killing her and harming her unborn baby."

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.