Jan 9, 2009

Work on popular bipartisan workplace smoking ban already beginning

It has been less than a month since the bill enacting a workplace smoking ban in Michigan, including bars and restaurants, died on the last day of the 94th Congress when the Republican members of the conference committee - formed to come up with a compromise between the total ban approved by the Senate and the House-approved version that exempted casinos and others – refused to consider a compromise, but work has already begun to enact the ban this year.

The 95th Congress will not begin until Wednesday, but incoming freshman Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, told subscription only Capitol newsletter Gongwer he planned to introduce the bill when the new session opens Wednesday. The sponsor of the bill last year, Rep. Brenda Clack, D-Flint, was term-limited. The move by Scott really illustrates support for the smoking ban is bipartisan. Scott is also making history as the first African-American Republican in the House since 1904.

Scott told Gongwer he talked with thousands of local residents during the last few months and there is steadfast support for a smoking ban.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, the man who has championed the cause for the past decade, Sen. Ray Basham D-Taylor, plans to not only introduce the Senate version of the bill, but he plans to form a bicameral, bipartisan anti-smoking caucus, asking all lawmakers to sign a pledge that they will work on the smoking ban issue.

Basham said he was both elated and disappointed at the progress of the bill this session. It had never before even been allowed an up or down vote, but he was disapointed that it did not passes, despite a majority of lawmakers in both bodies voting for it. Shortly after the bill died on Dec. 19 he sent out a letter to supporters of the ban all across the state saying he will push a ballot initiative if necessary.

"If the Legislature won’t take action on behalf of the people, I’ll see to it that we put this issue on the ballot and before the voters," he said.

Basham has a network of supporters of the ban from all over the state; collected from people signing his smoke free dinning petition, and he said the list of lawmakers who sign the pledge will be made public, as will the list of legislators who don't sign the pledge.


Anonymous said...

All sides would do well to consider legitimate exemptions such as the tobacco shops and cigar bars, as 30-plus smoking states have done to one degree or another in their bans, if they want something approved without the posturing of 2008.

I know you don't know what "cigar bars" are, guru, but they operate in many "ban" states.

Cropsey and Sandborn weren't very interested in negotiating in conference commitee, but the anti-smoking groups weren't either for most of the last 2 years -- until the bill went into committee.

Perhaps without the immediate threat of sine die, they'll be able to get something done.

Anonymous said...

You say you can't make it illegal to smoke at a private home because smoking is legal. Then why is it okay to ban smoking in a private business, because...as you say...smoking is legal. (Almost everything that is illegal today was at one time legal; that's what laws do..make things illegal. Heroin and cocaine were at one time legal...would you have argued that they couldn't be made illegal in a private home because they were once legal?) If you can make it illegal to do an otherwise legal function in a bar; you can make it illegal to do that same function in a home.

If the justification for banning smoking in bars and restaurants is the clear-and-present danger it presents to non-smokers, particularly employees, then those same hazards are endangering sleeping babies in their cribs.

How can you support legislation in favor of adult employees...who do have the option of quitting...and not do the same for babies, who don't have the option of leaving their home? (Yes, I know, quitting isn't a great option, particularly in this economy. But it is better than dying, since most of these are low-paying jobs anyway. And the babies don't have any options.)

I have a possible explanation for your inconsistent position:

You know that the public and most of the so-called bi-partisan legislative support would fall away immediately the moment such a ban became inconvenient...such as including casinos or private homes where babies sleep amid the remnants of lingering cigaret smoke.

Otherwise, why not include private households in the ban, or at least those with young children? Think of the PR. Who could possibly vote against a campaign to save the sleeping babies? Imagine the ads that could be produced.

The fact that such a ban gets no support from you makes me strongly suspicious of the "studies" that lay out the dangers of second-hand smoke. (For instance, one study proudly states that the existence of particles found in smoke is greatly reduced after a ban. Well, duh. That's merely saying that once you ban smoking, there is less smoke in the room. Rocket scientists!)

Your Pueblo study? That should provide great proof since there must be immediate marked health improvement in all those restaurant/bar employees. After all, if the general public -- some of whom spend little or no time in smokey bars -- saw an immediate 41 percent drop in heart-related hospital admissions, then there must be equal or greater improvement for employees, who work 40 hours a week or more in such conditions. I wonder why the study didn't bother to trumpet those results. (Maybe because they don't exist; maybe because they reveal inconvenient truths?)

Communications guru said...

I don’t mind lawmakers making compromises for exceptions, but I prefer a total public ban. You are correct, I don’t know much about so-called “cigar bars.” It’s been some 12 years since I last smoked, and it was not cigars. But I didn’t need to smoke them where I bought them.

I disagree with your statement that “the anti-smoking groups weren't either (willing to negotiate) for most of the last 2 years.” They had nothing to negotiate for. The bill never made it out of committee for 10 years. This is the first time any negotiating was going on. The person representing the anti-smoking groups, Sen. Ray Basham, was willing to see either bill become law; the total ban and the ban with exceptions.

Communications guru said...

“Why is it okay to ban smoking in a private business?” That’s pretty easy, because every worker and person who enter that pubic place should be able to breathe clean, safe air.

Yes, heroin and cocaine were at one time legal, and when cigarettes are illegal then your banning smoking in the home will carry some weight. Once again, how do you enforce an in-home smoking ban only for these people with children?

You can be suspicious of the studies all you want, but the fact remains they are based on scientific facts and evidence. I’m still waiting for the science to support your position. The Pueblo study does provide great proof.

Anonymous said...

Now you are going to ban smoking in pubic places? That's going too far, man.

Communications guru said...

The short answer is yes.

Not Anonymous said...

Today some English medical group published a study on how mouthwash causes cancer. I think you liberals should get behind banning all mouthwashes, and of course, secondhand mouthwash can't be good, so you should ban all kissing as well. We already know that the mouth has the most bacteria on the body, so I'm really disappointed the liberals didn't ban kissing long before this.

Communications guru said...

Really, anonymous troll. Any link to this study? I didn’t think so. Try just the alcohol in mouthwash may cause cancer, nor is there nearly the kind of scientific evidence in this case like the evidence that clearly proves secondhand smoke is deadly.

Once again, I’m still waiting for the scientific facts to support your asinine position that secondhand smoke is not a health hazard. Besides, the workplace smoking ban has never been a partisan issue, except in your mind.

Anonymous said...

Guru...stop your mindless partisanship just once to pay attention to what your wrote...I was making fun of your typo...you apparently want to ban smoking in all PUBIC places.

Communications guru said...

“Mindless partisanship?” You are talking about yourself, anonymous troll. As I have said numerous times, this is a nonpartisan issue. And yes I want to ban smoking in public places.

Not Anonymous said...

You're right. It is the alcohol. Obviously you didn't need a link, which tells me that you're just being a prick when you constantly ask for these links rather than dealing with things in an intellectual manner.

So tell me, if you want smoking banned in all public places, why not making smoking illegal? Too cowardly to go all the way?

If it's the alcohol in mouthwash that is causing cancer, why aren't you whining for the banning of alcohol?

Why didn't you answer the question about second hand alcohol? It only stands to reason that if second hand smoke causes cancer, then second hand alcohol also causes cancer.

Finally, again, another demonstration of you just being a prick. Not one person that has posted on this blog either in the blog or in the comment section has ever said that second hand smoke wasn't bad for your health. The difference is that you haven't proven with scientific fact that second hand smoke does cause death. You have offered opinions of surgeon generals. Not facts. You can cite things, hell, I can cite things that indicate that second hand smoke MAY be hazardous, but there is zero proof that even one death was caused by second hand smoke. There is zero proof that second hand smoke causes any problems for people. You repeating yourself often, loudly, uncivilly, or in any other fashion doesn't make it true.

Perfect example. There is no scientific proof of global warming. In fact, it's been proven that the earth has not warmed since 1997. Now they are claiming that we are entering a period of global cooling and some even say an Ice age. Did we all turn our thermostats down too low?

By the way, notice that I didn't call you any names in my first post, but you decided to do so in your first post to me. Perhaps you need an anger management class.

Communications guru said...

Fine, I’m a prick, but unlike you, when I make a claim I back it up. It shouldn’t be up to me to make your argument for you, as weak as they are, it’s your responsibility.

Am I too cowardly to make smoking illegal? No, I don’t have that much power and money. If you want to fight to make it illegal, please be my guest. I’ll do what I can to protect the health of innocent bystanders. Once we get this victory, maybe I’ll join your fight. Life is too short to waste my time in an impossible fight.

First, anonymous troll, I’m not whining about anything. Second, I’m not advocating for making smoking illegal, so why would I advocate for making alcohol illegal? The study you decline to supply is from Australia, and all it does is establish a possible link. They need more study and evidence. This weekend marked an important anniversary. In January 1964, the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was the first official recognition in the United States that cigarette smoking causes cancer and other serious diseases. .

When we get more than 40 years of evidence that alcohol in mouthwash causes cancer, I’ll support your position. We don’t have a fraction of that kind of evidence to support your call to ban alcohol in few brands of mouthwash that still contain it. But you know what? It doesn’t harm the health of the person standing 30 feet away. Second hand alcohol? You’re joking, right?

Sorry, anonymous troll, it was you that said that second hand smoke wasn't bad for your health. I have provided numerous scientific studies that say secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart disease, respiratory ailments and death. You have not provided one person or study to support your position, not even a scientist bought and paid for by big tobacco.

Sorry, global warming is a scientific fact, so that blows your argument.

I didn’t call you any names in my first reply either. In fact, I never called you a name at all. You are an anonymous troll. That’s not name-calling, that’s a fact.

Not Anonymous said...

You seem to be incapable of telling the truth. But that's not unexpected. It's actually getting to be pretty normal from you. If you say it, it must be a lie. The lie you ask? Well, I'll tell you. I have never said that second hand smoke wasn't bad for your health. Never even once.

I realize this is over your head, but I'll try one last time. Others get it, I don't know why you can't. Maybe they don't teach these things on the short bus.

While I never said that second hand smoke wasn't dangerous, I have said that there is no scientific proof that it is. It's still debated. I expect that second hand smoke will be found to be a hindrance to health as technology improves and they can perform more complex experiments that will make it provable. However, at this time, there is not one recorded death in history of second hand smoke causing anyone to die.

Once again, let me be clear. This does not mean that breathing second hand smoke is healthy. It only means that it's not been proven that it's dangerous to anyone's health.

The notice on the cigarette packs is that cigarette smoking is dangerous. There are different messages that are along the same lines. They all have to do with the smoker. Not the bystanders. I saw one today that said "Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health."

With the problem you have understanding what's been said over and over, I'm quite certain that you'll not understand that "reduces serious risks" doesn't mean you're definitely going to have health problems due to smoking, but rather it means that the chances of smoker having health problems is much greater than a non smoker. Notice, there is nothing in there about second hand smoke. But you keep trying to infringe on people's freedoms and take away their freedoms and I'm sure you and your ilk will pressure for more notices on cigarette packs that say something along the lines of "smoking causes cancer in your neighbor."

Even smokers aren't guaranteed poor health. They are only subjecting themselves to a greater possibility of health problems than a non smoker.

But as I said, I realize that you are incapable of understanding the meaning of words.

Hell, you don't even recognize namecalling when you do it.

Communications guru said...

I'm sorry, anonymous troll, but you are the liar. You said "Second hand smoke has not been proven to be a danger." That is the lie, and it certainly means you think it's harmless. If you think it's harmful, then why are we even having this debate? http://liberalmedianot.blogspot.com/2008/12/workplace-smoking-ban-dies-despite.html

There is 45 years worth of evidence of the dangers of secondhand smoke, and the U.S. Surgeon General and the CDC used that evidence to prove its harm. There is no debate. If there is a debate, show me someone taking the other side. I have challenged you repeatadely to do so, and I'm still waiting. The fact is you cannot provide a single person to look at the evidence and support your lame position.

As for name-calling, calling you what you are is not name-calling. How are you not an anonymous troll?

Not Anonymous said...

You really ought to just copy and paste your answers. They are always the same old BS that you constantly spew. Besides, it would save you all of the grammatical and spelling errors.

Same old same old.

Communications guru said...

That’s because you can’t shake them, disprove them or have a single fact to support your position.