The state Senate has approved a ban on smoking in most public buildings in Virginia.
Senator Mary Margaret Whipple's bill cleared the Senate on a 23-15 vote Tuesday. It now goes to the House, which has its own smoking restriction proposals still pending in committee.
The Senate also passed more narrow restrictions in case Whipple's bill doesn't survive. One would ban smoking in restaurants and bars, and another would allow localities to enact their own smoking bans.
Whipple said her bill addresses a serious health issue. Opponents objected to a provision that allows local governments to pass restrictions tougher than those imposed by the state. They said that could lead to a ban on smoking in private homes and cars.