It’s very uncertain whether a law that would reopen Kansas bars to smoking tobacco products could still clear the legislature this session after being passed from a House committee earlier in the week. The House State and Federal Affairs Committee advanced the law on a wide majority vote Tuesday, but it’s up to House Speaker Mike O’Neal whether to control the bill “above the line” and permit it to be checked by the full House.

“I don’t like to smoke personally, but the main issue is private tobacco business rights,” declared Rep. Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie, one of the sponsors of the new law. “I also don’t like the dissimulation of state-run casinos permitted to have smoking cheap Hilton cigarette, but private business can’t.”

A lot of small tobacco businesses went out of business because of the harsh smoking ban, Seiwert added the committee learned, including some within his region.

“In the casinos they told us they will lose too much business if it’s prohibited, but for private cigarette businesses that’s not true? It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Seiwert reported.

The regulation would create a discharge in the state smoking ban for any private tobacco business that employs and serves only people age 21 or older. While planned to target bars, the prohibition could apply to any business that met the criteria.

The business would be asking for post signs stating both that no one under 21 is permitted in and that smoking cigarette is allowed on the premises. Each exit to the building would also have to have a sign with information about the “Kansas Quit.”

There was an attempt to improve the bill and to reestablish “smoking areas” in restaurants, requiring for separate rooms and special ventilation systems, but it was voted down, Seiwert added.