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.