Apr 22, 2009
The delay on taking up the workplace smoking ban is a smokescreen
LANSING – Its’ pretty clear Legislative leaders used a lame excuse to suspend action on the workplace smoking ban, and that fact is becoming more clear every day.
You will recall that at the start of a much-needed two-week spring break earlier this month, House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, said the workplace smoking ban will be shelved this spring to concentrate on the budget. The House Regulatory Reform Committee that had held three straight weeks of testimony on the ban and nothing else has now moved on to apparently more important matters.
When they meet today, they will take testimony on House Bill 4715 introduced by the chair of the committee, Rep. Bert Johnson, that modifies investment of money in the state lottery fund. It will also consider HB 4565 introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing that requires tagging of certain beer kegs.
That is much more important than taking action on a public health hazard that kills 3,000 people a year in Michigan.
For even more important issues, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, chaired by Rep. Dudley Spade, D-Adrian, is meeting on Thursday to discuss an even more pressing issue: proposed administrative rules for unarmed combat (mixed martial arts). Now, I’m sure lottery, beer kegs and mixed martial arts are very important issues to some people, but so is protecting people from deadly secondhand smoke. The legislature can work on the budget as well as work on other issues at the same time.
The April 10 edition of “Off the Record” hosted by Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick makes its pretty clear the decision to put off the ban is just a smokescreen.