Lawmakers In Iowa Allowing Smoking In Casinos For Political Reasons

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The state of Iowa has what may of their citizens believe is a flawed law in place regarding indoor smoking. The law in question bans smoking in public places, with an exception for casinos in the state.

Opponents of the smoking exception have voiced their concerns to current legislators, but it seems as though those concerns have fallen on deaf ears. The politicians have openly admitted that they would rather deal with the injustices of the smoking law, rather than have to debate the issue again this year.

“If you see any smoking debate, from the Republican side, you’re going to see the whole smoking debate again. We’re going to open the whole thing back up. There are a number of silly provisions (to the smoking ban),” said Kraig Paulsen, the House Minority Leader.

Although they see fault with the current laws, Paulsen and other legislators are choosing to ignore the problems. They have conceded that the exception to the smoking ban was put in place in order to avoid a battle with the gambling industry.

In the world of lobbying in Iowa, the gambling industry is one of the most powerful, with many political connections. Legislators are speaking in ways that would suggest they are being told not to reopen the issue.

“The consensus right now among a majority of members, there are some disagreements, is to let sleeping dogs lie…..most legislators have dealt with that issue last year and are not wanting to reopen that debate,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

There are citizens in Iowa that are outraged at the openness with which these legislators are dismissing the smoking issue for political reasons.

“It is not right that our bar owners who pay their taxes are not protected by the smoking laws, but the casinos who bring the state more money are. Is it not the duty of these elected officials to fight for the rights of the people they represent,” said Donna Schuster.

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