Tobacco foes have upped the ante at the statehouse. In addition to raising the cigarette tax, they want to ban smoking in the workplace and in other public places, including bars and restaurants. Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines who supports the smoke-free move, says he’s getting lots of feedback.
"Scott Carlson called me from the Court Avenue Brewing Company and he is on record opposing this, as the hospitality industry is as well," McCoy says. "But for every one that I’ve heard from, I’ve heard from several that support it." Senator Joel Bolckom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says it’s a matter of workplace safety.
"We have a long tradition in our country of regulating toxic exposure to workers and workplaces," Bolkcom says. "This is one area that we have created a huge exception." Other legislators, like House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City, say business owners should be the ones deciding whether smoking is permitted in their businesses.