Missouri lawmakers vote to continue smoking Capitol offices

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) –┬áMissouri lawmakers have defeated an effort to ban smoking in state Capitol offices.

Smoking already is prohibited in Capitol hallways and legislative chambers. On Tuesday, a House rules committee heard testimony from several high school students and the Jefferson City Council urging legislators to ban smoking everywhere in the Capitol, including in offices.

But the panel’s Republican majority struck down a proposed amendment to the House rules on a 9-4 party-line vote.

Republican leaders dismissed concerns about secondhand smoke, saying the number of legislators smoking in offices was small in comparison to past years or decades.

Neighboring states such as Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas and Iowa have smoke-free capitols. Forty one states nationwide do not allow smoking anywhere in their capitol building.