SPRINGFIELD — Given a second chance, a bill to prohibit smoking on all public university campuses in Illinois was approved by the Illinois Senate.
Last week, the measure, SB 2202, fell five votes short of passing the Senate, and it was placed on "postponed consideration."
But supporters prevailed on Wednesday, 30-22. Among the five new "yes" votes was Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, who had voted no last week but switched Wednesday.
All other area senators, however, either voted no or did not vote. That includes Republicans Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Dale Righter of Mattoon and Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Not voting was Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.
The bill now heads to the House.
As proposed, it would ban smoking anywhere on campus, including farm fields, construction sites, open spaces and parking lots.
Opponents have argued that a statewide ban is unnecessary and that individual campuses can enact their own bans. The University of Illinois' Urbana campus is doing so, implementing a smoking prohibition that will go into efect next January.
“I don’t think this is something we need to do legislatively,” Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, said last week during debate. “I certainly think if the individual campuses want to do this, they have a right and the ability to do it. I think we’re sort of overreaching here.”
But the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, said public universities told him “we really don’t want to do it on our own because we will get slapped.”