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Mo. House GOP Defeats 2nd Effort By Democrats To Ban Smoking In Lawmakers' Offices

Flickr Creative Commons user SuperFantastic

Republican members of the Missouri House who smoke will still be able to, while Democrats won’t.

A new rule adopted today by the full House allows each party caucus within the House to set its own rules for such things as whether a lawmaker can smoke in his or her own Capitol office.  Shelley Keeney (R, Marble Hill) chairs the House GOP Caucus.

“I do think it was a good compromise," Keeney said.  "Clearly there were a wide range of views and opinions on the issue.”

Democrats tried but failed to pass an amendment to House rules that would’ve banned smoking in ALL lawmakers’ offices, regardless of party affiliation.  Jacob Hummel(D, St. Louis) is the Minority Floor Leader.

“It’s 2013 -- folks, come on," Hummel said during floor debate.  "How can we continue to allow smoking in our offices?  We’re exposing people to dangers, to carcinogens -- everyone knows it, it's time to put an end to it.”

However, six House Democrats joined all 108 Republicans in voting “no,” while three others voted “present.” Penny Hubbardof St. Louis was one of the Democratic "no" votes.  She’s also a smoker.

“I have two large windows in my office (and) an air purifier, and I don’t smoke in front of my constituents," Hubbard said.  "I am very protective about making sure that my colleagues are not affected by the smoke.”

The new House rule allowing each party caucus to make its own rules regarding what’s allowed in members’ offices means that last week's ban on smoking in Democrats’ offices will remain in effect.  Hubbard says she’ll follow “all rules and regulations,” but also says caucus leaders should not have made their decision without input from other House Democrats.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.