Smoking ban closer to Senate vote

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A statewide ban in public places in Texas,
including bars and restaurants, is moving closer to a Senate vote.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the ban on a 5-3 vote Monday, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. The panel made a few changes, exempting outdoor patios at restaurants and bars, and excluding nursing homes.

Supporters say a ban is needed to protect public health from secondhand smoke. Opponents call it an infringement on personal and
property rights.

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