Dec 18, 2009
Popular smoking ban bill signed into law
LANSING -- At an emotional and celebratory ceremony at the Michigan Brewery Co. Pub, Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed House Bill 4377 into law making Michigan the 38th state to go smokefree.
HB 4377 will make all Michigan bars and restaurants smoke-free, including those within casinos, protecting the health of patrons and employees alike. The legislation will exempt the Detroit casino floors, cigar bars and tobacco specialty businesses. It will go into effect on May 1, though many bars and restaurants are expected to start the transition sooner than that.
It was a packed house at the ceremony, and many lawmakers were joined by health care advocates, as well as supporters and some parents who just wanted their children to see the historic event. The act is called the Dr. Ron M. Davis Law, and his widow, Nadine Davis, was also on hand at the ceremony.
“I have long supported a smoking ban that will protect employees, patrons and citizens from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” Granholm said. “This laws shows that the health of Michigan citizens is a top priority. We will create more smoke-free environments with this law, which will lead to a healthier state.”
Also speaking to the boisterous and happy crowd was Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, who has led a more than decade-long crusade in the Legislature to protect Michigan workers from dangerous secondhand smoke exposure.
“With the Governor’s signature today, workers around the state will soon be able to breathe a little easier,” he said. “A lot of people have been waiting for this day for a long time, and I am pleased that we were able to pass this law during my time here. While this finally moves Michigan in line with a majority of states around the country.”
Basham also said the first bill he introduces in 2010 will be a bill to make the Detroit casinos smokefree.
“There are still some employees who will have to work in smoke-laden environments, and I will keep fighting for them as well,” he said.
Studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of Michigan voters support a workplace ban that includes bars and restaurants. Data from the New York City Department of Finance shows that tax receipts increased by 8.7 percent, or approximately $1.4 million, after the city went smoke-free. Between March 2003, when the city went smoke-free, and December 2003 there were 10,600 new jobs in its bars and restaurants. Florida saw similar results, and reported that retail receipts for taverns and bars that served food remain unaffected by its smoke-free law.