Alexandrian Del. David Englin (D-45) filed legislation Monday for the 2009 General Assembly session to protect the health and safety of workers and customers by banning smoking in restaurants and bars throughout Virginia.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine formally announced a statewide smoke-free restaurants proposal in Arlington on Tuesday as part of his 2009 legislative agenda.
Especially in todays economy, it is wrong to force restaurant workers to choose between their jobs or breathing cancer-causing second-hand smoke, Englin said. Governor Kaine has been a consistent leader on this issue, and I know those of us who have been fighting for peoples right to breathe smoke-free air appreciate his continued commitment to standing with us.
While Alexandria restaurants allow smoking, many eateries have voluntarily banned cigarettes. The City Council discourages it as well, especially for new restaurants in the city, and has shown interest in legislation.
Little by little, various smoke-free proposals have moved forward each year, only to be blocked by the General Laws Committee in the House, Englin said. This year, the General Laws Committee has a new chairman and a new makeup, so Im very hopeful that well see new progress.
While Englins bill would create a full statewide ban, other legislators are expected to file legislation allowing regional or local bans on smoking in restaurants and bars.
Clearly, the time has come for the House of Delegates the peoples House to reflect the will of the people on this issue, Englin said.
Englin represents parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County in the General Assembly.