Jun 17, 2009
Senate takes up beer keg bill but continues to ignore popular smoking ban bill
LANSING - No one is buying the lame excuse that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop is using to delay taking up the popular workplace smoking ban that he wants to concentrate on the budget, and that tale was further exposed by action on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
The Senate Committee of the Whole took up Senate Bill 470 for a third reading and passed it favorably. It was introduced by rightwing Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond. The bill would require a retailer selling beer kegs to attach an ID tag to it to create a paper trail to address underage drinking. Now, tags and beer kegs are important to someone, but I wonder how many people sent letters, emails and made phone calls to lawmakers urging passage of this? I wonder how many rallies have been held in Lansing to urge lawmakers to pass this?
Lawmaker’s offices have been overwhelmed with letters, emails and calls urging them to pass the workplace smoking ban. Bishop does not support the ban, so he is trying every thing he can to stall something that has overwhelming support.
Underage drinking is a problem, but it is no where near as pressing as the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke.
It seems ironic that Sanborn voted against the smoking ban last session because he apparently things business should make their own decision and does not like government interference and regulation, but the argument against his bill is that “the bill would impose an undue regulatory burden on retailers. The small business community needs less government intervention, not more, in order to thrive. Stores already are short-staffed and would have to bear the cost of compliance,” according to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency.
For even more irony, Sanborn was part of the Conference Committee tasked to work out a compromise between the Senate passed version and the House passed version of the smoking ban last December, but he refused to negotiate in good faith and the bill died.
It will cost nothing to implement the workplace smoking ban, and it will not hurt a bar or restatement’s business. The same thing can’t be said for Sanborn’s bill.
The bill would increase the costs to the Liquor Control Commission. The LCC “would be required to provide retailers with identification tags for beer kegs and signs describing keg policies. The LCC also would be required to develop receipts to document keg sales.” The cost of the keg tags is estimated at $10,000, and it would also cost to administer the program.
When the Senate takes up SB 470 on Thursday they can also take up SB 114 and House Bill 4377.