AUSTIN (April 4, 2013)--Texas Senators voted Thursday to ban smoking from the Capitol grounds.
State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, complains that smokers pollute the areas and entryways around the Capitol and subject visiting school children to second-hand smoke.
His proposal would make smoking on the grounds of the Capitol a Class C misdemeanor, subject to a $500 fine, the same penalty as for smoking on a public school campus.
Smokers would have to move outside the fence surrounding the Capitol grounds, which can be several hundred feet from the building in some places.
The ban was placed on a broader bill about the agency that manages the state Capitol complex.
That bill, and the smoking ban, now goes to the House for consideration.