Sep 11, 2008
Supporters of indoor smoking ban rally to get the ban done
LANSING -- Approval of the much anticipated indoor smoking ban, including bars and restaurants, could come as early as next week. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, D-Redford, has indicated he will allow the full House to vote on House Bill 4163, sent over from the Senate in May.
Although there has been no action on the two bills banning smoking in the Legislature since the spring, groups like The Campaign for Smoke free Air and private citizens have been keeping the pressure on and the spotlight on the issue by writing and calling lawmakers.
In fact, the coalition has a rally planned in Lansing on Tuesday, September 16 to exert even more pressure on the House to take up HB 4163.
The rally will begin at 12:30 p.m. on the first floor rotunda of the Capitol, and among the speakers will be Sen. Ray Basham, who first sponsored the legislation banning smoking more than a decade ago. Although it is not required and everyone is welcome, they are asking people to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many people are aware, the House first approved HB 4163 way back in December, and it excluded casinos, tobacco retailers, bingo halls, horse racing tracks and so-called "cigar bars" from the ban. The Senate approved the bill in May, but it was a clean bill that included no exceptions or carve outs.
However, when it was sent back to the House, many Detroit-area legislators balked, fearing the Detroit casinos would lose business and then lose jobs. They passed HB 5074 a few weeks later that had exceptions for non-Native American casinos, bingo-halls and so-called “cigar bars.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, only permitted a vote on 4163 after extensive pressure from Michigan residents, and the bill only received support because it included a total ban, thereby leveling the playing field for all bars and restaurants. He will not allow a vote on HB 5074, and it appears unlikely he would allow a second vote on HB 4163 if it were returned to the Senate with amendments that included exceptions or carve outs.
There is some speculation that Detroit-area lawmakers may be more prone to vote for the clean bill now that the primary election is over. If HB 4163 is approved in the House, it will go to the governor for signature.