SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker wants to make it illegal to smoke at the state Capitol, a "symbolic" action that he says will serve as a reminder about the health risks of smoking.
Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, said he's sponsoring HB155 in part because he's an alumnus of the University of Utah, which instituted a similar policy of banning all smoking and tobacco products on campus.
"In fact, all the Pac-12 schools have banned tobacco on their campuses," Cutler said.
The bill sends a signal that smoking remains a public health issue that needs to be addressed by the Legislature, he said. The effect of the bill, Cutler said, is "more symbolic than anything."
Indoor smoking is already illegal at the Capitol, under the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act. HB155 would ban smoking on all premises on the Capitol campus except for a small smoking area. Violations would be subject to a maximum fine of $45, according to the bill.
The biggest impact would be on visitors to the Hill, Cutler said.8 comments on this story
When asked if there had been complaints about smoking at the Capitol, he said "this is not because of that."
"There will be an accommodation location somewhere on Capitol Hill primarily for the visitors, or the employees can go out on the public sidewalk," Cutler said.
Spokeswoman Jenny Johnson said the health department is "supportive of (Cutler's) bill and his efforts to curb the use of tobacco products and the harmful effects they have on people."
State health officials have been working with the Murray lawmaker, offering support and expertise for the bill.