Apr 20, 2009

Basham recognized for his quest to enact workplace smoking ban

His decade long quest to enact a workplace smoking ban has earned Michigan Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, an award as a Public Policy Champion by the Michigan Public Health Week Partnership.

The Michigan Association for Local Public Health, the Michigan Public Health Association, the Michigan Public Health Institute, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan School of Public Health have partnered with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to implement Public Health Week activities that runs from April 20-26.

Basham has pushed to implement the ban to protect the lungs of the 80 percent of Michigan residents who do not smoke from deadly secondhand smoke. The legislation advanced further than it has ever had in the past decade last year, winning approval from both the Senate and House last session, but the two bodies could not reach an agreement on which ban to enact and it died.

The House Regulatory Reform Committee had been holding hearings on the ban earlier this month, but for some unknown reason they have put the ban off using the lame and false excuse that the state budget takes precedence.

MDCH will highlight the week at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 at its annual Hometown Health Heroes celebration in the Capitol Rotunda. During the event, the department and its partners will recognize eight Public Policy Champions who have either introduced new legislation to address gaps in the state's safety net or who have been long-time supporters and advocates of good public health programs. MDCH also will recognize 12 "Hometown Health Heroes" who have worked collaboratively to make their community a healthier place to live and grow.

"I congratulate our Public Policy Champions and Hometown Health Heroes," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski in a press release. "These individuals and groups are premier examples of what it means to be a health advocate for the people of Michigan.”

Besides Basham, the Public Policy Champions include U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, for his SCHIP legislation; U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, for sponsoring the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act (LEAN Act); Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard; Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Salem Township; Sen. Michele McManus, R-Lake Leelanau, for the booster seat law; and Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula Baird for her smoking cessation program with adoptive families.

The 2009 Hometown Health Heroes include: Social Justice Facilitator Team, Ingham County Health Department ;Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District; Genesys Maternal Infant Health Program in Flint; Dan Gorman , Montague; James Hiller, CEO, Hiller's Markets in Southfield; David M. Luoma, MD, MMM, CPE in Marquette; Sameer Ohri, DO, Pontiac; Patricia O'Neill, Grand Rapids; Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital Riley Foundation - Kelly Potocki, Standish; Lucy Tomasi-McGuire, Cadillac; and Washtenaw Area Immunization Action Coalition.

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