Governor Perdue signed a statewide smoking ban today -- ending a guessing game he fueled for weeks by saying he was undecided over the measure.
The law will allow smokers to light up only in a handful of places, including bars and restaurants which do not admit persons under 18. Violators of the law will be fined between 100 and 500 dollars.
Perdue had said for weeks that he had misgivings about the bill, believing that government should not become "the end-all and be-all nanny for all people."
His decision comes just one day short of the deadline for him to sign or veto bills passed during the most recent session of the state Legislature.
The original bill would have banned tobacco smoking in virtually all public buildings. It was amended in the Georgia House to exempt bars and restaurants and a few other places, including:
Of 14 tobacco-growing states surveyed by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only Florida had as broad a ban as the new Georgia law provides.