"Free State," Get It?


Maryland's the latest state to pass a smoking ban, although it needs to reconcile competing versions of the ban before it starts rounding up tobacco fiends.

The two main sticking points are whether to exempt private clubs, and whether the state or local officials should decide when to issue hardship waivers to businesses that demonstrate the ban has harmed them financially. The House would have the state health department decide who receives a waiver, while the Senate leaves that decision to county health officials.

Unless one side concedes, the House and Senate would send a handful of representatives to a conference committee to develop a compromise, which must then be passed in both chambers.

More here with perspective from America's Greatest State,* which Maryland had been laughing at after a smoking ban drove some business its way.