East Lansing Police Chief Opposes Extended Bar Hours

24 02 2009

Mike and I got into a discussion today in the comments section of another post about longer bar hours.  I’m in favor.  I’ve seen it work.  I came from a city that had a 4 AM zone downtown.  It was by accident that I came across this article in the State News were the East Lansing Police Chief voices his opposition.

But for East Lansing police, longer bar hours would mean more patrols and more money spent to pay officers, East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said.

“On weekends, we would increase our overtime pay,” Wibert said. “We generally put out extra foot patrols on bar nights.”

Wibert said making liquor available Sunday mornings probably wouldn’t affect police, but the extended bar hours could pose a problem of increased late night crime.

“Not many good things happen between 2 and 4 a.m.,” he said.

Two things.  1.)  You’re a police department.  You’re job is to serve and protect.  Plan accordingly.  2.) Extended bar hours do not increase late night crime.  You have no proof of that  and there are several cities that have 4 AM license and it works.  Instead of prediciting what you think would happen, I would suggest getting in touch with Peoria (IL) Police Chief Steve Settinsgaard who actually encourage the expansion of Peoria’s 4 AM zone a few years back. 

East Lansing has a number of bars in a small area and they’re near the police headquarters.  Extending the liquor license by two hours shouldn’t be that big of a deal.





Could Liquor License Renewal Fees Increase?

24 02 2009

That’s one of Jennifer Granholm’s proposal’s for balancing the budget.  I saw this story in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot late last week.

Local bar owners are not happy with what Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to serve up in 2010 — a doubling of their annual liquor license renewal fees.

Granholm is seeking to raise the fees — which haven’t been increased since 1976 — as a way to help solve the state’s massive budget deficit.

“It’s a 100 percent tax increase,” said Jeff Veach, owner of Veach’s Office Bar in downtown Jackson.

So, it’s been 30 years since there’s been an increase in liquor license renewal fees.  30 years!  That seems like a long time.  With the rate of inflation, a doubling of the fees seems cheap.  It sucks that it could happen now when everyone is struggling.  It’s kind of a vicious cycle.  If business fees aren’t increased, then they’ll have to find another stream of revenue such as property or income tax hikes, but it just seems like doing business in Michigan is getting harder and harder.





How Much Caffeine is in Energy Drinks?

17 02 2009

You may not know right now, but Senator Michael Switalski (D-Roseville)  wants you to.

State Sen. Michael Switalski says a “caffeine race” is escalating in the marketplace. The Roseville Democrat wants to require the makers of Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy and other drinks to put caffeine content on their labels.the U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally oversees food and beverage labeling.

Switalski says the products are marketed toward youth, and parents need information to control children’s caffeine intake. The bill may not get far because

I don’t know about you, but even if they put a number on the can, I would have no idea what a lot or too much is.  Hell, for kids, it will probably just encourage them to buy more.  I can remember going for Jolt Cola when I was kid because it had more caffeine than Mt. Dew…it was kind of the cool thing to do.

The bill is SB 0230 and right now, it’s been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Tourism





Press Release – Granholm Smoking Ban Remarks in State of State

10 02 2009

From a Campaign for Smokefree Air press release….

Granholm once again calls on lawmakers to enact smokefree legislation in her State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. –During her State of the State address, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, once again, strongly urged Michigan lawmakers to pass comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation.

“We again applaud the governor’s comments tonight and her support for smokefree air,” said Susan Schechter, CSA spokesperson and director of advocacy at the American Lung Association of Michigan. “Many lawmakers have done their research and know that in 2006 U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona released a report stating the only way to protect Americans from secondhand smoke is through comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation and policies. It’s time for lawmakers to stop dancing around the issue and finally listen to the state’s leader as well as their constituents and pass comprehensive smokefree air legislation this year.” Read the rest of this entry »





House Bill 4099 – The New Smoking Ban Bill

26 01 2009

Doesn’t it figure?  I just put a post up this afternoon about the smoking ban bill not being filed.  A few hours later, I get a comment on that post with a link to a Flint Journal story.  The bill was introduced last Thursday and sent to the Commerce Committee.  Today, the bill was filed which is why it just showed up on the Legislature’s website. 

HB 4099 differs from the bill introduced last year because it is a total ban on smoking…including casino’s and cigar bars.  That was a big issue a few months ago.  The Detroit legislators don’t want and probably won’t let the bill pass without an exemption for the casinos. 

To me, a ban with the those two exemptions is acceptable.  I don’t like it.  I think if the casinos are exempted, then bars (not any place that serves any kind food) should be exempted as well and I don’t want to see that.  Exemptions start a slippery slope and everyone thinks they should be an exemption.  It’s not a matter of Big Brother telling you want to do as the tobacco lobby will try to tell you.  I can’t think of any other thing that people are allowed to do that makes others physically uncomfortable.  If smokers had an ounce of respect for people around them, this wouldn’t be an issue, but most smokers feel like it’s their god given right to make everyone around them uncomfortable.

I wouldn’t expect this to move pretty fast.  In the overall scheme of things, this bill isn’t high priority.  Michigan has bigger problems than a smoking ban and I would guess they will drag it out to the next election.  You don’t want people to forget that you voted in favor of the ban.  It’s one of those social issues that get people on both sides fired up.





What’s Up With the Smoking Ban?

26 01 2009

A few weeks ago, I posted a press release fromincoming Representative Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc).  In that release, he said he was going to introduce a smoking ban on the first day of session which was on January 14.  I had been checking the Legislature website looking for the bill, but hadn’t been able to find it, so I e-mailed Rep. Scott to find out what the hold up was.  I got an answer today.

I am going to introduce the smoking ban bill as soon as possible. The legislature hasn’t read in any bills yet but hopefully I will be able to during session on Feb. 3rd. 

If you would like to look up what I’m going to propose you can go onto the legislature website and look up Bill Number 4163 for the 2007-2008 session.  The bill proposed by Brenda Clack is the same one I am introducing this year.
OK, so hopefully we’ll see something filed next week.  Then the legislature can sit on it again two years until election time.




…And it Begins Again

8 01 2009

Like most people figured, it didn’t take long.  I got the following press release from Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) who will introduce a bill next week when the legislature convenes to ban smoking outright.

Scott pushes for statewide smoking ban

Lawmaker unveils bill to protect public health

Citing a groundswell of support from local residents and a clear public health threat to the people of Michigan, state Rep. Paul Scott today unveiled landmark legislation to ban smoking in all public places in the state.

Scott will be the first state lawmaker to introduce the legislation this session. The Legislature tried unsuccessfully last year to ban smoking in public. Scott’s bill would ban smoking in all public places, with no exceptions.

“Secondhand smoke represents a clear and present danger to all Michigan residents, especially children, and efforts must continue in Lansing to protect the public,” said Scott, R-Grand Blanc. “People overwhelmingly want this ban. I talked with thousands of local residents during the last few months and there is steadfast support for a smoking ban.”

Scott also dismissed the argument that a smoking ban would hurt businesses.

“These naysayers evidently haven’t frequented Little Joe’s in Grand Blanc on a Friday night,” Scott said. “Businesses that have voluntarily banned smoking are thriving for good reason. Michigan residents don’t want to be forced to breathe tobacco smoke when they go out in public.”

There is mounting evidence that breathing tobacco smoke is unhealthy. A study released just this week shows that heart attacks dramatically decreased in Pueblo, Colo. after the city banned smoking in public places in 2003. Hospital admissions decreased by 41 percent after the ban, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5751a1.htm

Secondhand smoke kills an estimated 46,000 nonsmokers annually from heart attacks in the United States. An estimated 150,000 to 300,000 children under 18 months of age also get pneumonia or bronchitis every year from breathing secondhand tobacco smoke, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“A statewide smoking ban would be a game changer for people’s health and well-being,” Scott said. “The jury is out when it comes to the harmful effects of smoke. Not only is secondhand smoke a threat, but now we’re learning about the harmful effects of so-called third-hand smoke.”

“Third-hand smoke” is the dangerous matter from tobacco smoke that can get into a smoker’s hair and clothing. Young people, especially infants, can be negatively affected if they come in contact with the toxins.

Scott will formally introduce the smoking ban bill next Wednesday, on the first day of session.

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