Dec 11, 2008

Come out and show support for workplace smoking ban at committee meeting

LANSING – Rep. Brenda Clack, D-Flint, Chair of the Conference Committee on House Bill 4163 that bans smoking in all workplaces, announced the committee will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in room 424 of the State Capitol.

UPDATE:The Committee Clerk has canceled the meeting on Monday, and it is tentatively rescheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday Dec. 16. Schedule changes or cancellations for this and all committee meetings is available 24-hours a day at (517) 373-8140.

The six-person committee – consisting of Clack, Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale; Rep. Dave Hildenbrand, R- Lowell, Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor; Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt; and Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond Township – will be taking testimony from the public, and the meeting is open to the public.

This may be the last opportunity to voice your support for this important public health issue. Conference committees consist of three members from each legislative body to work out the differences in the version passed by the House and the one passed by the Senate. The committee works out a compromise, and their respective bodies give it an up or down vote, and no amendments or substitutes are allowed.

The House passed a version of HB 4163 that exempts casinos, tobacco retailers, bingo halls, horse racing tracks, cigar bars and private residences where a business is run with the owner being the only employee. The Senate passed version has no exceptions. The task will be to work out a compromise between those versions. Republicans have also floated a ridiculous compromise known as "pay to play" that should be called the more accurate name of "pay to kill." It allows the bar or restaurant owner to purchase a permit, and he can then continue to poison his workers and non-smoking patrons.

Some of the problems facing getting this done are all three Republican members - as well as Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R- Rochester - voted against the bill. There is also apparently only one Senate session left in the session before all bills die.

Although the Democratically-controlled House met all three days this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Senate only met on Wednesday of this week, and they will not come back again until next Thursday Dec. 18. Apparently, Bishop needs more vacation time. However, in fairness, the Senate did meet until 3 a.m. on Wednesday/Thursday. I wonder what great policy can come out of a 3 a.m. session?

We need to be out in force if possible on Monday to show our support for this important public health issue.


Anonymous said...

Will the bartenders have complimentary treats at their businesses after the meeting?

Anonymous said...

The Governor of Illinois will gladly help. Illinois was one of the states that started the recent nationwide "jump on the bandwagon" smokefree movement. You can use his connections. He won't need them anymore.

Communications guru said...

It’s a committee meeting, you idiot. No wonder you’re anonymous.

Communications guru said...

I answered you once on another thread, anonymous troll, but I’ll do it again. The governor only signs bills into law; he doesn’t draft or approve them. What about the other 33 states that are smoke free, as well as entire countries like Ireland and Italy?

Instead of calling it the “jump on the bandwagon" smoke free movement” how about calling it the jumping on the protecting the health of the majority of innocent people who don’t smoke bandwagon?

Anonymous said...

Are you in favor of capital punishment in Michigan? After all, something like 37 states now have capital punishment?

Read Sunday's opinion piece by Booth's Peter Luke. He shows how the Republican-led Senate overwhelmingly passed a total smoking ban in public places..but the Democratic-led House blocked it because it removed exemptions for casinos, cigar bars, etc.

The Republicans probably don't like the idea of a ban, but they called the Democrats' bluff and gave them one for the taking. The Democrats blinked. Smoke must have got in their eyes. Either second-hand smoke isn't that dangerous or Democrats don't care about the health of casino workers.

Communications guru said...

How many times do I have to answer this question? I do not support capitol punishment. Capitol pushiest does not deter crime. An indoor smoking ban protects the health of nonsmokers.

Well, either Luke is wrong or you’re misrepresenting or misunderstanding what he said. The total smoking ban passed the Senate by a vote of 25-12 in May, after the Senate sat on it since December.

I’m not sure if that is overwhelming, but clearly the ban has support. The House first passed a ban that exempted casinos and cigar bars in December 2007. After the Senate finally passed the total ban, the House again passed a version with exceptions

The House then allowed a vote on the Senate version with the total ban, and it got the majority of votes but not the required 56 votes. “The Democratic-led House” did not block anything.

I have explained this so may time, but here goes one more time. Detroit area Democrats are buying into the false argument that a ban in the casinos will send gamblers to the Native American casinos that are not under state control, causing the Detroit area to lose jobs. They are wrong, and I do not agree with them. I would rather get a partial ban in place instead of doing nothing. Once that happens and it is proven the business of those with the ban are not hurt, we will get a total ban.

Once again, with people from people both parties voting on both sides this is not a partisan issue. It is a public health issue.

Anonymous said...

My points is this: You support the smoking ban by pointing out that 33 others states have one. If that's an argument, then you should support capital punishment because more than 35 states support it. Basically, though, your 33-states argument is so much smoke.

If it's public health issue, then it has to be an issue that deals solely with employees. Smoking is still legal and customers have every right to choose where they decide to drink and eat. they don't need a smoking ban for that.

If there is a health issue, then an argument can be made that employees should not have to choose between health and employment. But while you seem to rely solely on the Surgeon General for this, you can't point to a single restaurant or bar employee who has been injured by second-hand smoke. That's where your argument is weak.

You can find Luke's column at mlive. He's usually pretty good.

Communications guru said...

I have debunked that stupid capitol punishment argument about five times now. It’s an apples and orange comparison. Capitol punishment does nothing to deter crime. An indoor smoking ban protects the health of nonsmokers. The fact that 34 states and numerous countries have a ban debunks the myth it hurts business.

Yes, it is a public health issue, for all nonsmokers. There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke. Why is it that we cater to a minority of people who participate in an activity that endangers and harm’s the health of innocent people? Why can’t I go into a public restaurant and have a meal or a public bar and have a drink without the small minority of people endangering my health? If they want to endanger their health that’s their business, but they have no right to endanger mine.

The Surgeon General is the authority for public health in this country. In fact, the mission statement says, “The Surgeon General serves as America's chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.” With secondhand smoke, he has provided the best scientific information available

I’m still waiting for the scientific evidence to support your position. Are you ever going to provide any?

I provided a link to Luke’s column on my last post. It’s pretty clear he thinks a smoking ban should be in place.

Anonymous said...

He may believe it should be in place. He has a right to his opinion. But it's also pretty clear that he believes the Dems could have had that ban...the House offered it up to them...but they wouldn't accept the removal of the casino exemption.

So your Democrats don't seem to be all that interested in public health.

Communications guru said...

This bill was first passed by the House a year ago in December 2007 with the exceptions that included casinos. The Senate passed it with no exceptions after sitting on it for five months. As I have said before, Detroit lawmakers are under the mistaken belief that the Detroit casinos will lose business and then jobs because people will go to Native American casinos that will not be subject to the ban. They are wrong. But even so, the total ban had another vote in the House, and it got the majority of votes, 50-49, it needed the majority of those serving to pass, 56 votes.

I want a ban in place now before this bill dies next week. I prefer something instead of nothing, and all or nothing is not acceptable. I would prefer to take a bite out of the apple now to protect as many workers as we can now, and after the first of the year, take the other bite of the apple and finish it off. This notion that if we can’t have it all we get nothing is ridiculous.

Once again, this is not a partisan issue. You need to take a look at who voted for this bill, and you will see people from both parties voting both yes and no.

Anonymous said...

Yes..there are people from both parties voting both ways. But after the Senate passed its version, the Democrats could have passed the bill in the House...they didn't because they caved in to the casinos. Apparently the public-health issues isn't as dire as you say...or is it that Dems favor campaign donations over the lives of casino workers?

Communications guru said...

Once again, this is not a partisan issue. The Detroit area Representatives - by the way, that is 12 representatives, a pretty big voting block - believed they were choosing jobs over a smoking ban. Once again, they are under the mistaken belief that a smoking ban in the casinos will create a loss in jobs in Detroit because the small minority of people who still smoke in this state will go to Native American casinos, not subject to state laws. They are wrong.

It’s just as easy to say Republicans favor campaign donations over the lives of casino workers because they also voted against the ban. There is no denying the scientific evidence of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

Anonymous said...

McBluster...look at my post at the top of your blog. I quote a story that quite clearly makes my point: It's the Democrats on the conference committee who are fighting to keep smoking legal in casinos. You know it; you just prefer to lie about it.