Rell talks with tribes about banning smoking at casinos

Hartford, Connecticut (AP) 4-08

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is asking legislative leaders to withdraw a bill on banning smoking in many areas of the two casinos in Connecticut while she tries to reach a deal with tribal officials.

Rell has written to top state lawmakers informing them that she has begun preliminary talks with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, which run Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, respectively.

But the governor says the tribes are asking for the legislation to be withdrawn as a prerequisite to continued discussions.

Rell says she is concerned that smoking is posing health dangers to casino patrons and workers, but she also says a smoking ban could result in the casinos losing business and cutting jobs.

State Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams says he sees no reason to kill the bill at this point. He says Rell would have to sign it anyway for it to take effect.