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Smoking Ban Dead, Again

A state-wide smoking ban has once again died in the legislature.
photo by KUT News
A state-wide smoking ban has once again died in the legislature.

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 ten 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 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."


This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Emily Ramshaw investigates state agencies and covers social services for KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.