LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A recently filed bill could allow some Arkansas businesses to bring back smoking.
The bill is an amendment to the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006. Sponsor, Rep. Justin Gonzales says this isn’t the first time the bill has surfaced.
The bill was filed last legislative session but failed in public health.
Tuesday Rep. Gonzales filed HB1696 which looks to give private business owners more power to make decisions about whether to allow smoking inside of their establishments.
“It’s a simple issue of private property rights to me,” says Rep. Gonzales.
Gonzales defends the bill saying it’s not necessarily going backward and once again allowing smoking indoors, but instead allowing those business owners to choose how to exercise their rights, something he says the Clean Indoor Air Act took away from them.
Gonzales admits he’d be surprised if the bill passes.
“There are so many issues with it now that I’ve learned are tied to federal grants and things that the state gets because we have the clean indoor air act,” says Gonzales, “I think when people see that, it’s probably not going anywhere.”