Local News Politics

Indiana state lawmakers return to the Statehouse today for the second half of the General Assembly.

The legislature has been in recess since Wednesday because of Super Bowl-related festivities in downtown Indianapolis.

Now that the most divisive issue of the session, a “right-to-work” bill, has been passed and signed into law, legislators will turn their full attention to other matters.

Among them is a proposed statewide smoking ban, which has cleared the House for the sixth time last week but has historically died in the Senate.

Indiana Legislative Insight Publisher Ed Feigenbaum says this may be the measure’s best chance of winning Senate passage.

“As Rep. Eric Turner of Cicero said, he thinks that they may have finally found what he calls the sweet spot, the area between too many exemptions that anger the anti-smoking groups like the American Cancer Society, and not enough exemptions,” he said.

The House bill contains exemptions for casinos, cigar and hookah bars and tobacco stores. Bars would be given 18 months to go smoke-free.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."