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Missouri House Republicans Vote To Smoke In Capitol Offices

Missouri's cigarette tax is currently one of the lowest in the country.

Republican members of the Missouri House who smoke will still be able to, while Democrats won’t. The results of a new House rule are adopted Wednesday.

The new rule allows each party caucus within the House to set its own rules for such things as whether a lawmaker can smoke in his or her own Capitol office. Shelley Keeney of Bollinger County chairs the House GOP Caucus.

“I do think it was a good compromise, clearly there were a wide range of views,” Keeney said.

Democrats tried but failed to add an amendment to the rule that would have banned smoking in all lawmakers’ offices, regardless of party affiliation.  Jake Hummel of St. Louis is the Minority Floor Leader:

“It’s 2013, folks,” Hummel said. “Come on, how can we continue to allow smoking in our offices?”

However, six House Democrats joined all 108 Republicans in voting “no.” Penny Hubbard of St. Louis was one of the six.  She’s also a smoker.

“I have two large windows in my office, an air purifier, and I don’t smoke in front of my constituents,” Hubbard said. “I am very protective about making sure that my colleagues are not affected by the smoke.”

Hubbard says she’ll follow, quote, “all rules and regulations,” but also says caucus leaders should not have made their decision without input from other House Democrats.