Apr 30, 2009
Another roadblock thrown up in the quest for clean and healthy air
Just when you think you have seen everything certain members of the Legislature can do to thwart the will of the people to enact a workplace smoking ban that has the overwhelming support from both Michigan residents and lawmakers, the House Regulatory Reform Committee has found a new one.
After reversing an earlier plan to table voting out a bill until the summer, the Committee met Wednesday to vote out a flawed bill that exempted casinos, but Chair Bert Jobson, D-Detroit, pulled a fast one and tabled a vote at the last minute, saying he wants to work out a compromise between House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.
Gee, I thought that was what a confrere committee was for.
All this does is give Bishop more cover to kill this bill. He only allowed a vote last session after intense pressure from supporters of the bill. Johnson also used the old excuse that the Legislature cannot do two things at one time, saying work can’t be done on the smoking ban because the budget is the priority. How can 148 people work on the budget deficit, and the function of committees is to work on a variety of issues.
Last session the House passed a bill that exempts casinos and the Senate passed a version with no exceptions. The conference committee could not reach - or refused to reach - a compromise between the two versions and the bill died.
According to subscription only MIRS, “Johnson said he was not told what to do by the leaders, but since the smoking ban was going to have a "negative economic impact," it was better to hold back any vote.”
Please show me any proof of "negative economic impact.” That is simply not the case, and study after study from the 35 states that have a ban prove that.
This is simply a cop out, at best. We need to pass something, no matter how flawed, to get the ball rolling and force people to act.