Amendments To Pennsylvania Casino Smoking Bill To Be Voted On Next Week

Written By Corey Sharp on April 12, 2024
Woman holding a smoking cigarette over an ashtray next to a large no smoking symbol. The Pennsylvania House is voting on amendments to HB 1657, which would ban smoking inside PA casinos. However, the vote won't move the bill.

The Protecting Workers from Secondhand Smoke Act is going to have action. A representative from Allegheny County Democratic Rep. Dan Frankel’s office told PlayPennsylvania on Friday that the PA House is going to vote on amendments next week.

The bill passed out of the House Committee last November and has been sitting on the House floor since. There has been plenty of controversy over smoking inside casinos over the last several years, with Pennsylvania and New Jersey leading the charge.

New Jersey casino employees, along with its labor union, are filing a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey over the smoke-filled air inside casinos.

Vote to determine amendments on PA casino smoking bill happening next week

Rep. Frankel put casino workers first when he introduced his bill last September to close the loopholes of the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008, which would effectively ban smoking inside Pennsylvania casinos.

The bill moved rather quickly, passing through the House Committee in November. However, the process has been at a standstill since.

PlayPennsylvania reached out to Rep. Frankel’s office in February, where we were told there was no update.

There now appears to be some urgency in the legislative process. Rep Frankel’s office told PlayPennsylvania on Friday that a vote on amendments to the bill will take place on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. No matter the result, the bill won’t move out of the House floor. Rep. Frankel’s office said:

“Then on another legislative day, they vote on final passage (3rd consideration), so that won’t happen next week.”

The vote on the final passage would ultimately move HB 1657 out of the House floor and onto the Senate. Here are the steps needed to pass:

  • Circulate a piece of proposed legislation among colleagues and ask to co-sponsor
  • Introduce bill and Speaker of House refers it to committee
  • Committee chairman decides to hold bill or run it through committee
  • Send to House floor with affirmative vote
  • Pass it on the House floor
  • Send to Senate to go through above steps
  • Send to Senate floor

Pennsylvania casino workers to let legislative process dictate fate, unlike New Jersey

Casino workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are fighting the same battle of smoke-filled air inside casinos. While Pennsylvania is challenging the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008, New Jersey is contending the Smoke-Free Air Act.

Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) and the United Auto Workers (UAW), announced last week that they have filed a lawsuit against New Jersey to ban smoking inside casinos. CEASE claims that smoking violates the New Jersey State Constitution on three grounds.

While there are CEASE representatives in the Keystone State, Traci Kennedy, Midwest Strategist for Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, told PlayPennsylvania last week the lawsuit would not affect PA employees. She said:

“This announcement does not have an immediate impact on PA casino workers who remain exposed to secondhand smoke every day at work. Parx Casino is thriving and saving money on health care premiums while operating smoke-free.

“A legislative proposal is being considered – HB1657 – to close loopholes in the PA Clean Indoor Air Act. Lawmakers have the best opportunity to guarantee all workers have the same smokefree protections.”

Casino workers in both states are standing up for their own health. While New Jersey employees are taking matters in their own hands, Pennsylvania employees are staying the course, trusting the legislative process moves in their favor.

Photo by PlayPennsylvania
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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