Lawmaker Seeks to Ban Snuff in Capitol Where Water is Outlawed

A lawmaker said Wednesday she'll try again to clean up the House rules that ban a cup of water on a desk but allow a day's worth of tobacco juice.

Rep. Pam Adcock said she will propose next week a ban on chewing tobacco from that chamber's floors or committee rooms. Adcock contemplated seeking the ban during a committee meeting earlier this year and said she would push for a state law in the 2009 session banning chewing tobacco throughout the Capitol.

"It's just going to be easier and quicker to get it done this way," said Adcock, D-Little Rock.

A law banning smoking in nearly all indoor workplaces in Arkansas went into effect last year. It does not cover chewing tobacco.

Adcock said a ban on smokeless tobacco would be similar to other rules regulating legislators' decorum in the Capitol, including prohibitions on food and drink in some areas.

The rule would only apply to House members, not the state Senate.

Gov. Mike Beebe in August said he was surprised that chewing tobacco was allowed on the House floor.

"It's fine with me. I thought it was already banned," Beebe said.

House Speaker Benny Petrus said he didn't know how much support there would be to snuff out snuff among House members.

"I've never paid attention over the years to how many people chew. I don't do it, so I certainly don't mind if they stopped," Petrus said.