Fate unclear for Alaska smoke-free workplace bill

State Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, an Anchorage Republican, speaks with House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, an Anchorage Democrat, before the start of the Alaska legislative session on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The fate of legislation that would mandate smoke-free workplaces in Alaska is unclear. A powerful lawmaker is blocking its advancement and others so far have been unwilling to push the issue, despite the bill’s widespread support.

As House Rules Committee chair, Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux decides which bills reach the floor. She has balked at moving the bill, which has passed the Senate. Half of the House is cross-sponsors.

LeDoux says the state should not foist a program on communities that may not want it. A similar measure failed in 2016, dying in a different committee that LeDoux then chaired.

LeDoux is one of three Republicans who helped Democrats take control of the House and is a leader of the coalition, which holds a narrow majority in the 40-member House.

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