Dec 18, 2008

Bishop and Senate Republicans work to kill smoking ban


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.”

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I sometimes take issue with your stances on this issue, guru, but I agree here.

I still don't know if the Senate suddenly became hardline converts to the anti-smoking case or drew a line in the sand to kill the bill.

Cropsey said he had received thousands of e-mails urging "a complete ban," but everything I read had anti-smoking groups urging him to move the bill through the committee.

Anonymous said...

But you all miss the point. The Democrats backed away from a ban because they caved into the casinos. The Republican-run Senate passed a complete ban. The House, led by Democrat Speaker Andy Dillon, wouldn't accept a smoking ban that didn't exempt casinos. Dillon is afraid that smokers will go to other casinos. So what? If second-hand smoke kills employees, then the right thing to do is a total ban. But the Dems won't do that, which makes me suspicious of all the so-called concern about public health.

McBluster tries to make it a partisan issue by only blaming Bishop and Cropsey and other Republicans. But the ban was there if Dillon wanted it. He didn't. So you don't have a ban. (I like Dillon, by the way. Unlike McBluster, I can look at the issue without trashing the players.)

Before going into your usual tirade, could you explain just once why it's all right for casino workers to die from second-hand smoke? Unless, of course, you don't think they are going to die...which makes that ban wrong. Without the death threat, it's a choice issue. Something McBluster doesn't support unless your choice is the same as his.

Anonymous said...

A chance to ban smoking in public places died a slow death because Decmoratic Speaker of the House Andy Dillon said casino profits were more important than the lives of workers. Please write or email Mr. Dillon and tell him to speak on behalf of the people, not on the behalf of big corporations.

Communications guru said...

Thank you, who-ever-who-are, for agreeing with me. That’s nice to hear once in a while.

I may be cynical, but not cynical enough to believe a Senator would cast a vote just to make a line in the sand. I do question Bishop’s motives because he did his best to bury the bill in committee and thwart a vote.

I think people wanted a complete ban, but they would be happy with a partial ban. There is nothing wrong with taking baby steps.

Communications guru said...

No, you miss the point; The Democrats did not back “away from a ban.” Way back in December 2007, the House passed a smoking ban that banned smoking, with the exception of casinos. As I have said numerous times, the 12 Detroit area Representatives in the House are under the mistaken believe that the Detroit casinos will lose business, causing a loss in jobs, to Native American casinos that are not subject to the ban. They are wrong. It’s hard to blame the speaker for the failure, because he allowed a vote on the bill three times. He allowed a vote on the full ban, but it only got 50 votes. Mike Bishop had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even allow a vote. He tried everything to kill the bill.

Bishop only assigned Senators to the conference committee after pressure from supporters. The ones he assigned voted against the bill. The people Dillon assigned to the conference committee voted for the ban; both the full ban and the partial ban. The Republican senators were there to kill the bill, and had no intention of negotiating.

“Before going into your usual tirade?” What tirade is that, anonymous troll, presenting a factual argument? “Could you explain just once why it's all right for casino workers to die from second-hand smoke? “ Wait, aren’t you the guy who has been telling me secondhand smoke is not harmful?

I explained it abut 10 times, including once in this thread. But, here goes again: the 12 Detroit area Representatives in the House are under the mistaken believe the Detroit casinos will lose business, causing a loss in jobs, to Native American casinos that are not subject to the ban.

Again, there is nothing wrong with baby steps.

As for this McBluster crap, you might want to look up the word bluster in the dictionary, anonymous troll.

Communications guru said...

Here’s what’s more accurate:
A chance to ban smoking in workplaces died a slow death because Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said tobacco profits were more important than the lives of workers. Please write or email Mr. Bishop and tell him to speak on behalf of the people, not on the behalf of big corporations.

The evidence backs up my description; yours doesn’t.

Not Anonymous said...

Gee, maybe that slow death was caused by second hand smoke.

Communications guru said...

You’re finally right about something, but don’t forget Bishop has been trying to kill this bill for the last two years, despite overwhelming support from Michigan residents. In fact, it was that pressure that finally forced him to discharge it from the committee where bills go to die and allow a vote on the full floor.

Anonymous said...

You keep saying it was 12 Detroit area representatives. What was the party breakdown of those 12?

And how did Dillon vote on the total ban?

Communications guru said...

They are from Detroit. I thought it went without saying they are Democrats. But it really doesn’t matter because this is a bipartisan issue. Andy Dillon voted for the ban all three times; twice for the ban with exceptions, and once for the total ban.

Anonymous said...

Dillon knew how the votes were going to turn out, so his vote is fairly meaningless...that's an old trick in Lansing.

But you keep blaming Bishop for blocking the ban when, in fact, those 12 Democrats could have passed the ban. But if second-hand-smoke is a killer, they favored profits over workers lives. Where is your outrage, you hypocritical bastard?

Communications guru said...

“Hypocritical bastard?” Thank you, anonymous troll.

Andy Dillon allowed a vote on both the partial ban and the full ban. Mike Bishop could have done the same and we would have had a ban. Bishop could have assigned Republicans who voted for the bill to the conference committee, wanted to see it pass and negotiated in good faith, and we would have had a ban.

No one knows exactly how any vote will go, but Dillon allowed a vote. Actually, it was 11 Detroit Democrats who did not vote yes, and we only needed six. We also could use 49 of the idiots who voted no to vote for the total ban. I have called out the Detroit Representatives, but they believed they were saving jobs. They are wrong. What about the other guys who voted no? What’s their excuse? No one “favored profits over workers lives.”