Smoking Ban Bill Update

3 06 2008

HB 5074 has been transmitted to the Senate and today, it was referred to the Committee on Government Operations and Reform which is the same committee HB 4163 was referred to when it was sent to the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop discharged HB 4163 from committee for a vote on the floor.  At that time, the Senate ammended the bill to get rid of all exemptions.  At the time, Senator Bishop said he did not favor a smoking ban, but let the bill be called because that’s what the people wanted.  After passing the Senate, the House sat on the bill for a few days before calling a different bill, HB 5074 and using it as a vehicle bill.  They amended HB 5074 which was bill written to ban smoking in college dorms.  They struck all of that language and inserted the original language of HB 4163.  HB 5074 passed and was sent to the Senate.

How futile is this?  It took the Senate FIVE months to call HB 4163 then they changed it.  There’s only four weeks left in this session.  Does the House really think Sen. Bishop will allow another vote on the same bill they’ve already amended?  Currently, HB 4163 sits in the house.  They can still call this bill before the session ends and pass it without the exemptions.  HB 5074 sits in committee and will probably die there.  The Committee on Government Operations and Reform hasn’t met since November, so there won’t even be a committee vote on the issue.

The Detroit News ran a story this morning ont the debate.  There was one part in particular I had a problem with.

After Ohio voters approved a ban in 2006, bars in Toledo were hammered and many patrons flocked to bars just across the state line such as M.T. Loonies in southern Monroe County. Sales rose 20 percent to 30 percent and the crush of smokers prompted general manager Craig Herbster, 26, to hire six more workers.

 What about Cleveland?  What about Cincinatti?  What about Columbus?  The paper chose to pick one metro area close to a state that doesn’t ban smoking.  I’m not denying that people are doing that, but let’s look at Michigan’s case.  Obviously, people are not going to flock to Ohio to smoke because they can’t.  They can’t run to Canada.  There will be a small stretch near the Indiana border and a small stretch of the UP along the Wisconsin border that will have to deal with this for a little while. Michigan is in a unique situation that the borders of non-smoking states are relatively small.  There might be a tiny percentage of business leaving Michigan so they can smoke in a bar, but a percentage so small no one will even notice.

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