by Max Brantley
I cheer the news, reported by Roby Brock, that legislation is coming to eliminate most of the exemptions in the law that banned smoking in most public places. The most significant exemption to be removed would be that that allows smoking at bars and restaurants that don't
employ allow people under 21. As a campaign website says, even bartenders deserve a safe workplace.
Note that I said "most" exemptions. Jason Tolbert develops this angle with appropriate commentary on the fact that the state's legal gambling parlors — the Southland and Oaklawn racinos — would still be havens for smokers. Bartenders at racinos apparently DON'T deserve a safe workplace. This is going to be a hard sell, explaining why a North Little Rock tavern must ban smoking but millionaire Charles Cella can't afford to be covered by the same law. Tolbert notes that the bill's sponsor, Rep. Tracy Steele, has been favored with Oaklawn and Southland campaign cash.