By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press
LEXINGTON - Ashley Pennington considers her dorm room to be home - where she can light up a cigarette whenever the mood strikes.
Her tobacco habit within the cozy confines of her room was preserved Tuesday when the Kentucky House narrowly defeated a bill that sought to ban smoking in student housing on college campuses.
The proposal, defeated 49-45 in Frankfort, would have banned smoking in dorms, residence halls and other campus-owned and sanctioned housing at public and private colleges and universities.
Pennington said she was relieved to hear the bill didn't pass.
"I would have had to go outside (to smoke), and I feel like, myself, I would have been compromised," she said.
In her dorm on the University of Kentucky campus, smoking is allowed only in private rooms. Pennington, a 20-year-old sophomore from Danville, said she paid to live in the dorm, so she should have the right to smoke in her room as long as her roommate consents.
But it is concern about student safety and health that were the driving forces behind the bill, said its sponsor, Louisville Democratic Rep. Jim Wayne. He was disappointed at the House's action.
"I can't help but believe that some of it had to do with the illusion that we constantly have to be supportive of the tobacco industry and the tobacco farmer," Wayne said.
Kentucky is the nation's leading producer of burley tobacco.
Wayne said the proposal would not have hurt the tobacco industry, and would have protected public health and safety.
According to national statistics, slightly more than one in 10 dorm fires are caused by smoking, he said.
And, the ventilation system in many dorms recirculates the cigarette smoke throughout the building, he said.
Rep. Roger Thomas, chairman of the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee, voted against the bill. Earlier, he said the bill was an example of government "overreaching."
Taft weighs temporary sales-tax rise
Snowfall dry, fluffy, lovely - and deadly
Scuffling possible, shooting witness says
Costs push debate on W. Chester center site
IN THE TRISTATE
Arts group, coalition settle pair of lawsuits
FBI raids office of missing developer
Suit filed over Krings contract
Property plan kept on the hook in Norwood
Cons might get out of crowded jail early
Children's Hospital opposes cuts
Obituary: Joe Dippong, 'Mr. Spoons'
Tristate A.M. Report
SMITH AMOS: Scars of racism still sear
BRONSON: Cop shooting
GUTIERREZ: Call your legislator
KORTE: City Hall
HOWARD: Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Realtors in uproar over tax increase
Butler commissioner calls for housing official ouster
More lead tests above standard
2 picked to head search
Clermont OKs online payments
Talawanda board to close Stewart Elementary
Zoning board delays vote on requiring larger lots
Death increases charge in accident
Village pushes renewal
Slaying suspect gets earlier review
Epling inspires new bill
Pupils write pleas for school
Kentucky News Briefs
Danville pastors protest school play
Memorial could beautify corner
House defeats bill to ban smoking in college dorms
N.Ky.'s Ziegler remembered as a hard-charger