JEFFERSON CITY -- A push by Democratic lawmakers to make offices in the Missouri Capitol smoke free was soundly defeated for the second time in two days.
While smoking is already prohibited in public areas of the Capitol and in all state buildings except prisons, lawmakers are permitted to smoke in their offices. Democrats voted last week to make their offices smoke free, and Tuesday attempted to amend the rules that govern the House of Representatives to extend the ban to all offices.
That push was defeated by the House Rules Committee on a party-line vote.
Today, Democratic state Rep. Kimberly Gardner of St. Louis made another attempt and was once again unsuccessful.
"This is the 21st Century, and there is no reason we should allow smoking in our offices," said Rep. John Rizzo, a Kansas City Democrat and a smoker. "This is about public health."
House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel, a St. Louis Democrat, tearfully discussed how his mother passed away from cancer while pleading with lawmakers to adopt the ban.
"Smoking is already banned in every other public building except prisons," Hummel said. "What we're saying today is that we're better than every other employee in the state."
In the end, however, the proposed change was defeated on a 114 to 41 vote. The House then passed a new rule giving each party the authority to set smoking policies for their members.