CARSON CITY — A bill that would partially ban smoking on college campuses passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee today.
Assemblyman Paul Aizley, D-Las Vegas, amended Assembly Bill 128 to require colleges and universities to establish campus smoking zones outside of which a person would not be able to smoke.
Under the amendment, the smoking zones would have to be a reasonable distance away from walking paths and doorways.
In an earlier hearing, legislators had criticized his bill for banning smoking on campuses outright.
The chairman of the committee, Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, had said he was afraid it would drive smokers across the street from campuses and disrupt local businesses. He wondered where smokers would end up.
“So, the parking lot in front of Chipotle?” Horne said. “So I can eat my burrito bowl and pass through a cloud of smoke?”
The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006 already outlaws smoking inside of buildings, but this has not rid campuses of tobacco smoke, said Aizley, a former professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The amendment seemed to quell opposition to the bill.
“I think here it is a good compromise,” Horne said. “The campuses can identify places on campus away from entries into buildings where persons can have a smoke.”
Three legislators still voted against the bill.
“There’s a personal freedom factor that we’re kind of starting to get into a point where we’re infringing on people,” said Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks.
He said it was wrong to mandate the establishment of smoking zones at Nevada’s college campuses when no such zones are required on the Capitol grounds outside the Legislature.
Hansen’s comments were, however, in the minority. He joined Assemblymen Kelly Kite, R-Minden, and Mark Sherwood, R-Las Vegas, in voting against the bill.