AUSTIN, TX (AP) - A senate panel has approved banning smoking in public places in Texas, including bars and restaurants.
Supporters of the measure have been trying to pass a smoking ban for several sessions and it passed the Senate Human Services Committee on Tuesday by a 5-3 vote.
The bill by Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Supporters say restaurant and bars workers are exposed to second-hand smoke that causes lung cancer, heart disease and other chronic ailments.
Opponents say the bill violates the private property rights of business owners. The bill exempts cigar bars and tobacco shops from the ban.