New Mexico Senate Bill 329, introduced over a month ago, would once again permit smoking in bars.
In its fiscal impact report on the bill, the Legislative Finance Committee wrote that the New Mexico departments of health, human services and finance and administration "quote a January 2009 Research and Polling, Inc. survey that 85 percent of New Mexico voters reported they were in favor of the current Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act and believe it should remain as written or strengthened."
Further, the survey "also states the act has not adversely affected bar sales according to gross receipts records comparing sales before the law was enacted and afterward. According to the UNM Bureau of Business and Economic Research, in the first two quarters of 2008, bars have rebounded to their highest gross quarterly sales to date."
Presumably, this change in the law wouldn't override the city of Santa Fe's separate smoking ban. But you can bet tavern owners in the city would be worried about losing business to competitors outside the city limits.
I've got a call out to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Los Alamos, for comment.