Jefferson City, MO — Fresh off his introduction of legislation to reform Missouri ethics law — aimed at eliminating the smoke-filled room of back room deals and unlimited contributions — House Minority Floor Leader Jacob Hummel is seeking to rid the state of the smoke-filled room in every sense of the word.
Hummel is preparing a policy that would ban smoking inside offices under House control within the Capitol building in Jefferson City, Hummel told The Missouri Times.
“I think this is a straightforward issue, we’ve got some serious health concerns for some members of this body on both sides,” Hummel said. “We’ve got kids and families coming through here everyday, and smoking is not allowed inside any other government building in the state.”
Hummel said younger generations are no longer accustomed to permissible smoking in public buildings, so the change shouldn’t cause any serious waves. Currently, members are allowed to smoke in their offices, though it is unclear how many elected officials do so.
“This is a public health problem, and as a party we want to advocate for positive changes for the public health,” Hummel said.
The policy began as an internal Democratic Caucus policy, and Hummel is hoping to extend the ban House-wide when the body adopts new operational rules in the coming days. While the policy might have bi-partisan support, it may not receive unanimously adored in Hummel’s own caucus. Smokers on both sides of the political spectrum might not be inclined to jump onboard, like Representative Penny Hubbard, Democrat from the 58th and well-known smoker.
“I believe we will see plenty of support,” Hummel said. “Everyone has concerns about public health.”
Leah Wiggs, Director of Advocacy – Missouri for the American Lung Association of the Gulf Plains Region, supported the measure in a statement to TMT.
“The policy presented by Rep. Hummel is a step in the right director for the health of all those who work and visit the Capitol daily. As the U.S. Surgeon General Stated, ‘the debate is over, the science is clear; there is no risk-free level of second-hand smoke exposure.’ There are nine state capitol buildings that aren’t smoke free; we hope to see that number decrease as Missouri legislators look at smoke-free policies.”
Collin Reischman can be reached by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @CReischman