Press Releases – House Passes Smoking Ban..

26 05 2009

…with exemptions for cigar shops and casinos.  It’s disappointing, but not surprising.  No biggie.  I’ll just go back to Windsor. 

This first press release is from Michigan House Democrats

House Dems Pass Smoking Ban
Plan protects health of Michigan families

LANSING – House Democrats today passed legislation that would make Michigan the 37th state to ban smoking in most indoor places, including bars and restaurants. The move comes amid ever increasing evidence of the negative public health impact of secondhand smoke. The plan passed 73-31 and now heads to the Senate for approval.

“Secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths per year that are completely preventable,” said State Representative Bert Johnson (D-Detroit). “This plan will protect our workers and families who regularly face exposure to secondhand smoke in public places, bars and restaurants.”

Secondhand smoke is classified as a Group A carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause or exacerbate a wide range of health problems, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

The ALA reports that secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year, and that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work are at increased risk for health problems.

“The smoking ban puts the health of our workers and families first,” said State Representative Lee Gonzales (D-Flint Township), sponsor of the plan. “By banning smoking in public places we are protecting our families and our children from inhaling this deadly smoke. Smoke-free environments will create healthier communities and save thousands of lives.”

Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to children, the ALA reports. It is responsible for up to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in kids under 18 months of age, resulting in up to 15,000 hospitalizations a year. It causes 430 sudden infant death syndrome deaths in the U.S. annually, the ALA reports. In addition, new evidence links increases in the number of asthma cases in children to secondhand smoke exposure.

Thirty-six states have passed laws prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces. The plan passed Tuesday exempts certain cigar bars and tobacco specialty retail stores because those businesses feature smoking as the primary source of their commerce. The plan also exempts casino floors, which would face competitive disadvantages with tribal casinos that would threaten their viability.

“Secondhand smoke causes cancer and kills people,” said State Representative Joan Bauer (D-Lansing). “This is not the time to let politics get in the way of acting to protect the public health. Each year more of our residents are falling ill and dying due to secondhand smoke; it would be irresponsible not to act quickly in passing this ban. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take action immediately.”

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This second release is from the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.  They call it a “Job Killer”  Hey, whatever helps them sleep at night.

Job Killer Rips Through Michigan House
Corporate bankruptcies, massive unemployment
doesn’t stop House from adding to Michigan’s economic free-fall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s bars and restaurants were disgusted today by a vote by the Michigan House that sent the smoking ban, House Bill 4377, to the Senate with only a few select business groups exempted – cigar bars, tobacco specialty shops and Detroit casino gaming floors. The Michigan House passed the bill by a 71-41 vote.

“I challenge lawmakers to explain to the thousands of workers they just turned their backs on, why their jobs aren’t worth protecting.” said Lance Binoniemi, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA). “It’s a sad day for Michigan when Las Vegas-based casinos are worth protecting and Michigan’s mom and pop businesses are penalized. Today’s vote clearly shows just how out of touch and misguided our representatives really are.”

Efforts to protect the thousands of mom and pop businesses left out of the bill were thwarted by House leadership with what is best described as “procedural acrobatics,” rather than letting the democratic process work.
If passed the bill will reduce tobacco tax revenue by $27.5 million on a full-year basis (FY 2009-10), according to the House Fiscal Agency’s analysis.

Further, state revenue will decline $11.4 million for the School Aid Fund and $8.8 million for the Michigan Transportation Fund.
“This vote will kill Michigan jobs and devastate our small businesses. Plain and simple,” said Binoniemi. “Taxpayers should be outraged that the House’s is passing a bill they know will only add to our state’s economic struggles.”

Founded in 1939, the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association is the voice of the hospitality industry, representing thousands of family-owned businesses. The MLBA presents a loud, unified voice in Michigan’s beverage alcohol industry and has evolved into a modern day full-service trade association. The MLBA offers its members a wide range of support services designed to help them run their businesses more efficiently and to make sure our laws and regulations are administered fairly. For more information, please visit http://www.mlba.org and http://www.BanMiSmokingBan.com.

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