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.


Anonymous said...

As long as the ban lobbyist are so adamant about including privatly owned etablishments, it will keep getting the cold shoulder. If there's a demand for smoke free bars, why don't all these busybodies buy their own bars to make smoke free?

Communications guru said...

What the hell are you talking about? First, every workplace but those who work for the government are privately-owned. Second, the “ban lobbyist” are private citizens - the two-thirds of Michigan voters who support the ban - who have flooded the lawmakers with calls, letters and emails.

So it’s a “privately owned establishment?” Does than mean they don’t have to follow public health laws? They don’t have to cook meat properly, they don’t have store food at the proper temperature and they don’t have to clean the kitchen properly? After all, they are “privately owned establishments?” This is a public health issue, nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Ban lobbyists private citizens?


Communications guru said...

I’m not sure what you are talking about. But, the simple fact is the people lobbying for the ban are private citizens.