LANSING -- Everyonr is familiar with the poem “Twas the night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore, but Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, read a new version during statements in Thursday’s Senate session.
This version was written by Dr. Ronald M. Davis of East Lansing, and it talks abut the pending workplace smoking ban. He wrote it last year, but it ran in Thursday’s edition of the Detroit Free Press. Unfortunately, Dr. Davis passed away last month of pancreatic cancer. He was the immediate past president of the American Medical Association and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, as well as a dedicated advocate of the smoking ban.
He will not be around to see the measure passed, but Basham proposed naming the law after Dr. Davis when it passes the House and Senate.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House (of Representatives),
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. House Bill 4163 had been through both chambers with great fanfare, and there was a great yell of triumph from the Campaign for Smokefree Air.
Children with asthma were wishing for the best, of visits to restaurants with clean air in their chests. And Mama in her apron could work for a living, without the worry of cancer the secondhand smoke was giving.
When out in the Capitol lobby, there arose such a clatter, the people all wondered just what was the matter? Ohio has done it, and Illinois, too, so many states were smoke free, why is it so hard for Michigan to do?
Then it became clear, there was smoke in the air, from opponents who warned lawmakers, “You’d better not dare.” “We have,” they said, “our own science for you;
just listen to us, so you’ll know what to do.”
But it wasn’t enough, and CSA found their excuses easy to snuff. In a flash, we showed them the truth: smoke free air is needed at every work site – from office, to factory, to bar and to booth.
The people of Michigan called out in the night, “please Mr. Lawmaker, please make it right!” We want what they have – in Arizona, Arkansas, California and Colorado.
Why can’t we be like Connecticut, Florida, Georgia and Idaho? From Louisiana to Maine, in Maryland, Minnesota, Montana why they’ve even bet on smoke free air out in Nevada! New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, the Dakotas – residents are protected and smoke free, just like the folks in Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
Out west in Utah, up north in Vermont, in rainy Washington and political D.C. - they’ve figured it out, so why, why, oh why can’t we?
So the lawmakers voted and did the right thing, they proved to constituents that they had been listening. But then I awoke with a terrible start; I grabbed for my pillow and clutched at my heart. For I had only been dreaming of a smoke free Michigan, and I know those who want it will have to try again and again. You see, even though the House and Senate have each voted, it’s still no cinch. The chamber can’t seem to agree on a final version, which is our own Christmas Grinch.
So write to your lawmakers and tell them to compromise and vote; tell them you’re watching and you’re taking note. It’s good for me and for you, good for health and business too; Be you naughty or nice, a smokefree Michigan is the right thing to do!