House panel advances rewrite of smoke-free workplace bill

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A bill that has advanced from a House committee would allow communities to opt-out of a law mandating smoke-free workplaces in Alaska.

The House Rules Committee advanced a rewrite of the smoke-free workplace bill that lets communities opt out via local elections and excludes e-cigarettes from the definition of smoking.

The original bill had widespread support, but House Rules Committee Chair Gabrielle LeDoux refused to schedule it for a vote on the House floor. She said the state should not force municipalities into a program they may not want.

Rep. Sam Kito III, a committee member, objected to the rewrite. He said he did not appreciate the changes being made at such a late date.

If the bill passes the House, the Senate must decide whether to accept the changes.

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