Nov 9, 2010

Bill in committee attempts to turn back the clock on the workplace smoking bill

It appears that the House Regulatory Reform Committee is going to consider a bill similar to the “pay to kill” compromise on Wednesday that the Conference Committee soundly rejected back in December 2008 that that will weaken the newly passed workplace smoking ban.

Tobacco Free Michigan issued an urgent alert late this afternoon that the Committee will take up House Bill 5803, sponsored by Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor, that will take us back to the unhealthy way things were prior to May 1 when the workplace smoking ban went into effect with “legal smoking rooms.”

The bill will take us back to smoking sections, as long as the space is completely enclosed and it has a “separate ventilation or air filtration system designed to remove smoke from the air in the room and prevent smoke from infiltrating into the nonsmoking areas.”

Ironically, when the very same committee was taking testimony on the workplace smoking ban back in March 2009, Dr. Greg Holzman, the medical officer from the Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH), testified that there has been no ventilation system that clears out secondhand smoke, and that there is no safe amount of secondhand smoke.

Not only that, but back in April the U.S. Navy announced that it will ban all smoking on its submarine fleet by the end of the year, saying “Recent testing has proven that, despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine.”

Submarines have the most sophisticated air purification system ever invented, and it banned smoking. What bar or restaurant can equal that kind of technology?

The committee will meet at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 10 in room 326 of the Anderson House Office Building, in downtown Lansing. The meetings are open to the public, so please show up to show your support for keeping the smoking ban intact.

This had to be a last minute thing because there is no agenda listed for the committee, like every other committee. This bill has little chance of becoming law. It has to pass the committee, be approved by the House and then go through the same process in the Senate.

The Senate is unlikely to take it up, because the Senate Majority Leader is taking next month off, and there is no lame duck session.Regardless, contact Geiss to let him know how anti-health the bill is. He can be reached at:
Phone: 517-373-0852
Fax: 517-373-5934

If you can’t make the hearing, contact the members of the Regulatory Reform Committee to tell them to reject this attempt to weaken the smoking ban:

Chair Rep. Bert Johnson
Phone: (517) 373-0144Fax: (517) 373-8929

Vice-Chair Rep. Harold Haugh
Phone: (517) 373-0854Fax: (517) 373-5911

Rep. Pam Byrnes
Phone: (517) 373-0828Fax: (517) 373-5783

Rep. Tim Melton
Phone: (517) 373-0475Fax: (517) 373-5061

Rep. Bettie Cook Scott
Phone: (517) 373-1776Fax: (517) 373-8502

Rep. Woodrow Stanley
Phone: (517) 373-8808Fax: (517) 373-5997

Rep. Jon M. Switalski
Phone: (517) 373-1772Fax: (517) 373-5906

Rep.Tory Rocca
Phone: (517) 373-7768

Rep. Hugh Crawford
Phone: (517) 373-0827

Rep. Rick Jones
Phone: (517) 373-0853

Rep. Jim Stamas
Phone: (517) 373-1791

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