Nov 19, 2010
Pro-smokers hope to kill popular smoking ban in new Legislative session
The most credit you can give this shrill of the tobacco industry is that they are persistent.
Lance Binoniemi, the lobbyist for the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) , is hoping that a new Republican Governor and Republican control of the Michigan House and Senate can win exceptions of the popular, bipartisan workplace smoking ban passed last December, according to a story in subscription only Gongwer.
That seems unlikely because a new study by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) found more than 70 percent of Michigan residents were in support of the smokefree air law, but bar owners who think a drop in business because of the Bush recession is the fault of the ban refuse to quit.
One Democratic State Representative tried to stealthy get a bill through that would basically kill the ban, but supporters of the ban found out and flooded the lawmakers on the committee considering the bill with calls and letters. The MLBA has used debunked studies in the past that say smoking bans hurt business and cost jobs, but that is simply not true.
House Bill 4377 passed overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support, but the MLBA is hoping the new leadership that voted against the bill last December will be friendly to amending the bill next session that begins on Jan. 4. Not likely.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, was one of the 13 Senators voting no against 24 yes votes. It passed overwhelmingly in the House with a 75-30 vote, but incoming Speaker of the House, Rep. James Bolger, R-Marshall, voted with the losers.
It is very unlikely something that passed with 70 percent of the vote will be revisited, and the fact is as time goes on the bans already in place in 37 other states become more popular and accepted.
In fact, Gongwer cited the example of South Dakota as proof. The state has had a ban since 2002, but in 2009 they extended the ban to bars, restaurants and casinos. Pro-smokers fought back and placed it on the ballot on Nov. 2. Voters there overwhelmingly approved the full ban, 64 percent to 36 percent.
Just in case, contact Richardville and Bolger to let them know there is a reason the ban is so popular.
Senator Randy Richardville
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone: (517) 373-3543
Fax: (517) 373-0927
Rep. James Bolger
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: (517) 373-1787
Toll Free: 877-BOLGER-1
However, those phone numbers and are only good through the end of the year.