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Legislator wants smoking ban in state budget

Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, wants Gov. Jim Doyle to include the proposed statewide smoking ban in the budget he'll introduce next February.

An aide says the Beloit Democrat will also reintroduce the ban as a separate bill, thus covering all the bases.

Robson says it would be quicker to pass the public indoor smoking ban if it's part of the two-year budget.

It bogged down in the last session, when it was a separate bill and all sides had a better chance to focus on it.

Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner says the governor still believes a smoking ban is a top priority but he has not decided if he'll put it in the budget.

Robson's proposal raises the question of how policy items will be treated in the next budget, now that Democrats control both houses and the governor's office.

In the last budget, Republicans who shared control on the Joint Finance Committee tossed out dozens of items not directly related to state spending or tax revenues.