Smoking Ban Moves Out of Committee

20 05 2009

Well, it’s a start, but it’s set up the same as last year and they couldn’t come to an agreement then….

A House committee approved today a ban on smoking in all bars, restaurants and all other workplaces – except for Detroit’s casinos and smoke shops statewide – reigniting a debate that has smoldered for years.

[snip]

House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township said he had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, and said, “I would bet it gets done this year.”

However, Dillon said he supports a smoking ban exemption for the gambling floors of casinos only, but not the restaurants or anywhere else in the facility. Bishop said his Republican caucus supports a total ban with no exemptions.

No exemptions.  How sad is it they want to exempt casino floors that are covered with old guys in oxygen masks?  Why should casinos get exemptions but not bars and restaurants near those casinos?  Detroit’s competition is Windsor…and Windsor is smoke free.  They know that people would cross the border to gamble if the two are actually on an even playing field…hell, I’m going to Windsor this weekend…but it has more to do with smoke free than anything.

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One response

21 05 2009
Mike

You know it’s all about money. Indian casinos pay less than a third of the tax Detroit does, and as the American Gaming Assn. noted earlier this week, the two states with the biggest drop in gambling revenue in 2008 were Colorado and Illinois — both states with bans. I’m sure lobbyists have been pointing that out.

It will be interesting to see if this goes any differently this year. Some reports say Bert Johnson has a bipartisan agreement to send the bill to the Senate with at least the exemptions his commitee put in, and he’s expected to try for more on the floor (I’m not sure that will work).

I’m not even sure Mike Bishop will allow another vote since he was strong-armed last time. If it does go for a vote and if advocates want a ban to pass in 2009, they should consider resisting the urge to remove all exemptions.

Sen. Ray Basham really fell into the trap Bishop set up last year. He’d be wise to not do so again. If they had accepted the handful of exemptions last year — many of which are in other states with smoking bans — they would have their law by now.

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