Mar 13, 2009
Committee hearing set for indoor smoking ban
The fight for clean air in the new Legislative session begins to move forward when the House Regulatory Reform Committee meets to discuss an indoor smoking ban that includes bars and restaurants on Wednesday.
According to subscription only MIRS, Committee Chair Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, wants to “stage a series of hearings on the controversial issue before drafting a bill.” The hearing is set for noon on Wednesday March 18 in room 326 in the House Office Building at 124 N. Capitol in Lansing. The meeting is open to the public.
The important public health issue passed both the House and Senate last year, but the Conference Committee assigned to work out the differences between the two bills failed to reach a compromise before session ended on Dec. 30 and died. The House passed version had exceptions for Detroit casinos and so-called cigar bars, and the Senate version had no exceptions.
It was the Detroit area lawmakers who favored the casino exception under the mistaken belief it will hurt business and cost jobs, but two Michigan studies have proved that’s simply not true.
Johnson already has four bills in the Senate to choose from and one in the Senate. Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, has introduced House Bill 4099; Rep. Dian Slavens, D-Canton, has introduced HB 4196; Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing – the co-chair of the Anti-Smoking Caucus – has introduced HB 4341; Rep. Lee Gonzales, D-Flint Township, has introduced HB 4377; and Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, - the co-chair of the Anti-Smoking Caucus –has introduced Senate Bill 114.
I urge the thousands of supporters to come out and attend the hearing to show your support for this important public issue that will save the lives of the majority of people who do not smoke. It’s important to get a ban in place even if it has a few exceptions to begin with.