Thank goodness! Senator John Cullerton has introduced SB 500 (not yet online) that would ban smoking throughout Illinois on January 1, 2008 -- a good six months before Chicago's scheduled ban in July of 2008.
There's a big coalition called Smoke Free Illinois that is supporting the ban. I'm sure they would like your help in lobbying for passage of SB 500, so check them out and call your legislator. I think they win the prize for generating the most attention for a specific legislative proposal in the first week of the 95th General Assembly, but the bars and restaurants have a lot of clout, so this will be a fight.
Our Chicago smoking ban is rather ridiculous -- a 30 month (!) time period until implementation and a bizarre provision that permits bar owners to install ventilation systems and still allow smoking if the system generates air quality equal to the air quality outside. Those provisions do not exist in SB 500, creating yet another reason to pass the bill. It was fantastic to be in Springfield during veto session and this week and enjoy smoke-free bars and restaurants. And it's disgusting to still smell like an ash tray after going out in Chicago.
Congratulations to Senator Cullerton and Smoke Free Illinois for taking the initiative on good legislation.