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ON THE LEGISLATIVE FRONT Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, cited a prohibition against smoking on Siesta Public Beach as big factor in naming it his No. 1 beach in the U.S. in 2011. Photo by Norman Schimmel WHILE A BILL THAT WOULD GIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CONTROL OVER REGULATING SMOKING HAS ADVANCED, THE PROPOSAL FOR A STATEWIDE DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP REGISTRY REMAINS STALLED By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Local governments — including Sarasota County — seeking control over smoking regulations on their property have seen further progress on a bill they are supporting in the Florida Senate. However, supporters of a statewide domestic partnership registry are in "stall mode," with a hearing on a bill introduced again in this session by state Sen. Eleanor Sobel having been temporarily postponed this week. A spokeswoman in Sobel's office told The Sarasota News Leader she did not know when the bill would be brought up again for action in the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, which Sobel chairs. County Commission on March 7 that SB 258 — the bill to allow smoking restrictions — passed the Senate Health Policy Committee by a 6-3 vote. She added in a March 7 email that the bill included an amendment providing that local governments "may not add smoking restrictions to pre-existing leases of a business located on public property without the lessee's consent." That amendment was made part of the bill at the request of the Hotel and Restaurant Association, Hosack added. At that point, she continued, the bill had just one more committee hearing to clear before On the tobacco front: Marsha Hosack, man- going to the full Senate. That remaining hearager of community and intergovernmental re- ing is before the Community Affairs Commitlations for Sarasota County, reported to the tee, she noted.

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