Jul 9, 2009

MLBA rewards Sanborn for betrayal


It’s hard to find the proper words to describe my reaction when I opened the latest edition of The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) monthly trade magazine and read that rightwing Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond, was named The MLBA’s 2009 Legislator of the Year. A few words that came to mind immediately were disgust, shock, betrayal, double cross and payback to name just a few.

The MLBA has been a harsh critic of the workplace smoking ban; going to the point of using debunked studies and ones financed by the tobacco industry to make the false claim that the ban will cost jobs. That is simply not true, and reliable, independent studies from the data from the 37 other states and entire countries that already have the ban debunked their lie.

But, according to the article, Lance Binoniemi, executive director, of the MLBA, said “He is also a strong advocate against the proposed smoking ban which the MLBA is currently fighting.” The word I think of here is payback.

On the smoking ban, Sanborn is quoted as saying; “This is an example of government telling business what to do. As part of the free market system, people can choose whether to go where smoking is permitted or to a non-smoking hospitality business.”

Someone should ask Sanborn does that mean the employees who really need the job can go elsewhere, too. The fact is, government tells businesses what do all the time, and it's actually their job to do so. It is about the state protecting the public's health just as it does with regulations about how restaurants store, handle and prepare food. We don't leave it up to businesses to decide if they will require their employees to wash their hands before preparing customers food, what temperatures they should maintain their food at, or what procedures should be taken when handling food. We require certain regulations be followed to protect the health of the public. It is no different with secondhand smoke.

If Sanborn doesn’t like the workplace smoking ban, then he should vote against the bill – like he did – and live with how the majority of Senators voted. He didn’t do that.

You will recall that last year both the House and the Senate approved a workplace smoking ban, but each body passed a different version. That happens all the time in the Legislature, and what happens is the leader of each body appoints three people from each body to a conference committee, and the six-person committee then meets to iron out a compromise to present that compromise to their full body for an up or down vote.

In other words, the majority is telling you to find a way to get done what the majority wants. The problem is Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop is against the ban, and instead of doing what the majority wants, he sabotaged the process. He assigned two staunch opponents to the committee: Sanborn and Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt.

We should have know what the result would be when we saw who Bishop assigned, and the conference committee never even came up with a compromise to present to the full Legislature. That’s because they did not bargain in good faith, and the bill died despite the majority voting for it.

Cropsey admitted four months later that he refused to negotiate or bargain, and we just saw Sanborn’s payoff. It would be interesting to see how much cash Cropsey, Sanborn and Bishop got from the MLBA PAC.

5 comments:

kevins said...

House Democrats favor unsafe working conditions for casino employees.

Communications guru said...

Simply not true.

victor said...

its really nice agree with you

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victor
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Melissa said...

I'm a life-long democrat, but on the issue of banning smoking in restaurants and bars, I don't support a complete ban. In Lansing, there are about three times more restaurants that are smoke-free than those where smoking is allowed - and it's still increasing. I personally know restaurant owners who have spent thousands of dollars or more for the best ventilation system available. Non smokers & the owners are very pleased with how well they work - the owners say it keeps some of their non-smoker customers coming back. Owners are very worried about a complete ban. I agree with them in that as business owners, they should be making decisions about their customer base. Comparing this to gov't involvement in food inspection or sanitary guidelines/requirement is comparing apples to oranges. When the government recalls tomatoes for a month, will a restaurant permanently lose a chunk of customers?
Why not consider a type of ban with a waiver or exception for restaurants/bars that would allow smoking if they utilize approved ventilation systems?
Regarding studies, of course some are flawed or use junk science. However, there are too many people who fail to look critically at the science itself and its methods, and like you said, they need to look at who contracted and paid for the study and who actually did the study. There are also people who just don't know what makes a study solid and that lack of understanding is all too often exploited. But in general, too few people really examine studies, instead they dismiss/discard it because the conclusion fails to support their position.

Why not try a compromise...maybe find some middle ground instead of going straight to all or nothing?
Thanks for opportunity.
Melissa - a fan - really - not a troll

Communications guru said...

I’m glad to hear you’re lifelong Democrats as am I, Mellissa, but this is a nonpartisan issue. I’m more than willing to compromise, but it makes sense to me to ask for the most and then compromise down.

As for ventilation systems, the Michigan Department of Community Health’s medical officer testified when the bill was in committee that there has been no ventilation system invented that is effective against secondhand smoke.

I don’t see why owners would be worried about a complete ban because study after study says a ban will not hurt business. In fact, there is not a single study that proves it hurts business. We also have the results of the 37 other states and entire countries that have banned smoking, and they have not lost business.

Comparing government involvement in food inspection or sanitary guidelines/requirement is comparing apples to apples or oranges to oranges. This is a public health issues because secondhand smoke is deadly. That is undisputed. “When the government recalls tomatoes for a month, will a restaurant permanently lose a chunk of customers?” I don’t know, but I do know banning smoking will not cause a restaurant to permanently lose a chunk of customers.

“Why not consider a type of ban with a waiver or exception for restaurants/bars that would allow smoking if they utilize approved ventilation systems?” Because there has been no ventilation system invented that is effective against secondhand smoke.

Ah, the junk science talking point. The EPA does not use “junk science,” nor does the U.S. Surgeon General. In fact, 20 years ago the Surgeon General said secondhand smoke kills and causes numerous diseases, and the evidence since then has reinforced that fact. The entire countries that have banned indoor smoking report decreases in heart disease and respiratory ailments after a ban goes into effect.

I agree with you when you say “Why not try a compromise...maybe find some middle ground instead of going straight to all or nothing.” That’s why I can accept the bill the House passed in May, even though it’s flawed.

But I know one thing for sure; there will never be a compromise when guys like sanborn and cropsey are assigned to the committee to work out a compromise. They voted against it, and refused to compromise. Sanborn was honored for sabotaging the bill.