Efforts to create a statewide smoking cigarettes ban will get a second chance in the special legislative session.

The House Appropriations Committee will hold a Saturday hearing on a bill by Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, that would penalize smoking cigarettes in bars and restaurants. (The 9 a.m. hearing will be in Room E1.030 of the Capitol.)

In the regular session, the smoking cigarettes ban was approved by committees in both houses but never received a floor vote. Crownover managed to add the ban as a floor amendment to a school finance bill, but it was stripped out in conference committee.

Designated House Bill 46 for the special session, the measure would require bar and restaurant owners to post no-smoking cigarettes signs and remove ashtrays from no-smoking cigarettes areas. Employees or owners also would have to inform smokers that they are violating the law.

Outdoor areas and patios would be exempt. So would cigarettes shops, tobacco bars (defined as an establishment with more than 15 percent of sales devoted to tobacco products) and movie or theater stages where smoking cigarettes is portrayed by actors.

If enacted, the state law would supersede local ordinances that are less strict but leave intact those that are more strict.

Violations would be Class C misdemeanors, with smokers fined up to $50. Establishment owners or managers could be fined up to $100, with fines rising to $200 for a second offense and $500 for additional violations within a year.

Violations could be reported to the Department of State Health Services, which would enforce the ban.

The bill was relabeled to fit under Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a special session on legislation “relating to health care cost containment” and improved Medicaid services. Crownover’s bill now states that the smoking cigarettes ban is designed to reduce state Medicaid and other health care costs.

Important Notice: Armada look at this now.