Jan 25, 2008

Pressure for action on popular smoking ban goes high tech

The Lansing-based Campaign for Smokefree Air (CSA) is taking its campaign to ban smoking in Michigan workplaces high-tech with a video contest to urge the Michigan Senate to act.

The Smokefree Video Challenge is looking for the most creative ways to tell the Michigan Senate why Michigan workplaces -- including restaurants and bars -- should be smoke free. CSA is challenging people to produce short, two-minute videos that will be placed on YouTube telling Michigan's senators why Michigan should become the next smoke-free state.

According to the group's Web site, CSA will review all submitted videos and will choose the top five. Then those videos will be placed on the CSA Web site, where people will vote for their favorite video. The winner will receive travel vouchers toward a trip to the smoke-free city, state or country of their choice, and with some 30 states and numerous countries already smoke free -- France is the latest to go smoke free -- they have a lot of destinations to choose from. The winning video may also be used in upcoming CSA advertising. The deadline for submissions is March 14.

In early December, the Democratic-controlled House approved House Bill 4163 -- introduced by Rep. Brenda Clack, D-Flint -- by a vote of 56-46. When the bill was referred to the Republican-controlled Senate, a brief fight ensued as to what committee it would be sent to. Proponents of the bill wanted it to go to what many saw as the most logical place for it: the Health Policy Committee. The chairman of that committee, Sen. Tom George, is receptive to the ban. George is a medical doctor.

Instead, it was sent to the Government Operations and Reform Committee, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop. Although the ban has lots of support from people from both parties, Bishop has said he will not only not allow the bill to be voted on, it will not get even get a hearing.

That comes on the heels of a poll released on Jan. 23 by CSA that says an overwhelming majority of Republican voters support legislation to make Michigan workplaces smoke free.

The poll was conducted Jan. 9-12 by Lansing-based EPICA/MRA, which polled more than 500 self-identified Republican voters. The poll said 76 percent favored smoke-free legislation, including 62 percent who "strongly favor it." That number drops when you ask respondent if that includes bars and restaurants, but it's still a majority of voters at 67 percent.

"We're hoping Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop takes this information to heart," said Judy Stewart, the spokesperson for CSA, in a press release.


Anonymous said...

I'd love to submit a video, but I actually believe in private property rights. I do not want to run every like-minded entrepenuer out of the state, so I'd prefer to leave smoke-free decisions up to the owners of the property rather than force them to conform.

Maybe it is just me, but I enjoy my freedom. And my freedom does not involve infringing on others'.

Communications guru said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with freedom. It is a public health issue. I also have no idea where you get the ridiculous idea that it will ”run every like-minded entrepreneur out of the state.” Where are they going to run? Some 30 states have a smoking ban in bars and restaurants, including Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota. Michigan is in the minority when it comes to smoking, just like smokers. With less than 25 percent of the population smoking, what the hell makes you think allowing the majority of the population to be able to breath freely when they eat is going to hurt business? It will improves business because the people who cannot be in the same room with smoking for health reasons will come back to bars and restaurants.

I don’t want to make the owner of the property conform to anything, so if they want to store rat poison and insecticides along with the food then they should be able to. After all, I don’t want to infringe on their rights.

I enjoy my freedom too, and that includes breathing clean air that does not contain poisonous, caner causing agents, and when someone infringes on that they should have to take it outside. If they want to kill themselves, find, but not the rest of us.

Harry The Hunk said...

We are supposed to be living in a democratic society which is supposed to mean, government by the people. If that is in fact the case, lets put this issue on the ballot and let the people decide and not some politician. Whatever the outcome of the vote, we will all have to live with it. It is that simple.Let the majority decide.

Communications guru said...

Thanks for posting and expressing your opinion, Harry. I agree with you to a point. Yes, a politician should decide because that’s the form of government we chose when approved the U.S. Constitution. In a Republic, we elect people we think are intelligent and wise to represent us and to be our voice and make important but tough decisions.

What we have are politicians, actually one politician, blocking a vote by the rest of the politicians who represent us. Mike Bishop refuses to even allow the bill to be voted on. That’s despite poll after poll saying people support it and numerous letters in support of it. The reason it is not on the ballot is because it takes money, and the groups who are pushing this, like the American Cancer Society, are using their money for research and other things. They will have to compete against deep pocket opponents like the Michigan Restaurant Association who will pull out all the stops to defeat it.

Again, thanks for expressing your opinion

Don said...

Dear Guru,
Do you think that Senator Bishop is being paid off by the tobbacco companies and bar and resturants organization to snuff out this bill? I still say that when you have something like this that so many of the citizens are for and the politicians will not pass it, it is time for the people to stand up and have their say and if the politicians won't let this happen, they need to be replaced. The majority should be able to rule. We are not living in Iraq.

Communications guru said...

Thanks for expressing your opinion, Don. No I do not think, “Senator Bishop is being paid off by the tobacco companies.” What is happening is the boards of groups like the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association are against it, even though individual members are not, and the fact is some of their money may come from tobacco. If there this ever got on the ballot we will see a lot more money from tobacco. No nonprofit in the sate has the kind of money to go up against them. The fact is lobbyists carry a lot of weight in Lansing, especially because of term limits. A lot more weight than citizens. The citizens are standing up and letting know Bishop how he feels. He vowed the bill would never get a hearing, and after an attempt to steer it to the Health Policy Committee, where it belongs and has a chairman more friendlily to it because he’s a doctor, failed Bishop sent it to his committee that never meets to kill it. He has now publicly said he will give the bill a hearing.

I do not believe in governing by ballot and having every decision put on the ballot. Again, we vote for people to act on our behalf who have more information and more insight based on their position. That's the form of government we wanted some 200 years ago. I don’t get the Iraq reference. Perhaps you mean Communist China. The fact is one man who I was unable to vote for is not allowing the process to move forward. I want the person I voted for, my Senator, to vote on the bill, and when he does I will let him know my opinion.

Harry The Hunk said...

It is true that we put politicians in office who we think can make good decisions for us. The problem that we have is that when they make decisions that displease the majority of the people, those people should be able to stand up and be heard to a point where those politicians recognize the peoples position and make the necessary changes. If those politicians cannot please the people that voted for them then there should be a mechanism where the people can remove those politicians from office. If Bishop goes against the will of the majority of the people, he should be removed from office. I've always said that two of the biggest problems that we have in the world today is greed and power and I think that that describes Mr. Bishop as well as other politicians. It reminds me of many dictators that we have in the world today.

Harry The Hunk said...

It's easy for smokers to say: If you don't like smoke in a particular bar, just go and find one that is smoke free. Do you smokers know that the selection of non-smoking bars is so small that you don't have much of a choice at all.
Bar owners that I know would like to have no smoking in their establishments for health reasons but they are afraid to make the move themselves because they say that the playing field would not be leveled and they don't want to lose the business. They tell me that they will just wait for the government to tell them to do it.
I want to go to establishments that provide goods services and atmosphere that I enjoy and are within a resonable driving distance of my home and not have my eyes burning and my clothes smelling because of someone elses second hand smoke.
I don't want to have to drive all over, possibly many miles from my own neighborhood to find a non smoking bar that might have the goods, services and atmosphere that I enjoy and find out that they might not even exist.
My smoking friends, whole countries around the world are banning smoking. This is not taking away your right to smoke. You can smoke as much as you want. This is a health issue and the majority of the people around the world are concerned about it and don't want to be exposed to it.
We are NOT picking on the smokers of the world. We are just concerned about our health. If you are not concerned about your health, that is your business.

Anonymous said...

when New York passed its smoking ban many bars went out of bussiness. I disaggreed then even though I wasnt smoking at the time (I had quit for 4 years) I left the state about a year later and moved to Illinois (i had started again 4 monthes before I moved). Illinois has now banned smoking too, and I here people saying they shouldn't have to be exposed to the smoke, I agree, thats why we smokers should be allowed to have our own bars that allow smoking and non smokers should be allowed to have there bars. Its a free country right? Why cant we have smoking bars? Well with any law ever passed al you have to do is follow the money. Who benefits? Finacialy? Sure there are some ignorant people who think the world should be made just for them, but I dont whine about publicly funded golf courses (that serve liquor) and those people shouldn't whine about independantly owned establishments that cater to smokers. Am I missing somthing (besides a spelling class) ?

Anonymous said...

Here in Illinois, we will soon find out who paid for the Illinois ban

Happy Contented Soul said...

Harry, the selection of non-smoking bars is so small because bar owners are fully aware that the majority of their paying customers are smokers. If you want a non-smoking bar please feel free to buy yourself one.