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Central Texas Businesses Fuming Over Proposed Statewide Smoking Ban
Nearly 30 states a across the country have statewide smoking bans -- will Texas be next? A Texas state representative and a senator both filed identical bills hoping to prevent people from lighting up inside businesses.
You may not be able to light up inside bars within the city of Austin but there are still plenty of places in Texas where you can smoke.
That could soon change as lawmakers push for a statewide ban, and local business owners we spoke with say the government needs to stay out of their business.
Geri Anglin is co-owner of Skinny Bob's Billiards in Round Rock. She says, "It really makes me angry because 90 percent of our clientele smoke and it's going to kill my business."
There are two bills that take aim at smoking in Texas. One is authored by Denton Republican Myra Crownover, the other by Senator Rodney Ellis who calls SB86 a "reasonable bill."
In a statement to KEYE TV, he said, "The vast majority of Texans understand the impact smoking has on our health and our economy. Senate Bill 86 will improve the health of Texans and save our state billions of dollars in health care costs over time."
While some business owners are against the ban, others say they're getting ready just in case. Jerry Berman owns Texas Bar & Grill and says, "if everybody goes non-smoking, the people are still going to go out and drink, they're still going to go out and dance."
Berman is also against the ban but says he won't let it close him down. "Getting ready to put a new patio in, we're getting ready to re-do the floors, re-paint, re-model the front end of the club, getting rid of the tobacco smell, that's the key thing, and the ceiling and then we're ready to roll," he says.
But Anglin says building a patio for smokers isn't an option at Skinny Bob's. "We have no outside venue, so our business will be destroyed by this bill," he says.
By Lydia Pantazes