Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and Senate Republicans on the Conference Committee are turning a bipartisan public health issue into a partisan political issue, and they are trying to kill the workplace smoking bill as the last Legislative session day before all bills not approved die.
Bishop and the two Republican members of the conference committee tasked with coming up with a compromise between the House-passed ban and the Senate passed total indoor smoking ban- Sens. Alan Cropsey nad Alan Sanborn - all voted aginsat the bill, but Bishop assigned people who want to kill the bill to come up with an 11th hour compromise.
The confrence committee met early this morning before the session today, and for the third straight day, nothing was accomplished. The three obstacles who voted against the bill are now preaching the public health benefits of a complete ban over the House passed version that exempts casinos. That has to be the height of hypocrisy. The benefits of partial ban are better than nothing, which is what we have now.
The House and Senate are expected to meet until midnight, but it does not look good for any kind of smoking ban, despite the overwhelming support for it. All bills not passed today die and they must be reintroduced in the new session that begins in the New Year.
If this fails the blame belongs to Bishop and his two cronies. The Detroit Free Press called for passing the ban in its editorial today.
“What a nice Christmas present that would be for the nonsmoking majority and for bar and restaurant employees whose health is imperiled daily by secondhand smoke. What a great opportunity to send children a message that the leaders of Michigan know smoking is dangerous and public health is important.”
I could not agree more.
“Michigan is among 16 states without a ban, which perhaps, in the current economy, could be justifiable if people from all the other states were flocking here to light up. But there's no evidence Michigan is profiting as a destination for nicotine junkies -- and plenty of evidence of the health costs associated with smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.”