AUSTIN - The Texas House Appropriations Committee voted 19-1 this past weekend to recommend that their colleagues approve HB 46, a bill designed to ban public smoking.
"It's the No. 1 public health issue for this session. It's the number one clean air issue in this session," said bill author Rep. Myra Crownover, who has been lobbying for a smoke-free plan for the past six years.
HB 46 would apply to public places including businesses licensed by the Texas Health Department or Alcoholic Beverage Commission. "This is not a 'nanny state' bill. This bill is about asthma that kills people. It's about heart attacks," Crownover said.
Not everyone is on-board, though. The pool hall industry opposes an indoor smoking ban because it says roughly 70 percent of its customers are regular smokers, said Philip Robert Brinson, general counsel for Fast Eddie's Billiards, which operates 18 pool halls in Texas.
"It's a niche business. It's a pool hall. (Customers) know people smoke. That's why they go," Brinson said.
The Texas House has previously passed indoor smoking bans only to see them rejected by the Texas Senate.