Legislator Wants Local Governments To Be Able to Ban Smoking

25 08 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the smoking ban.  The big reason is because there’s been no movement on the statewide bill which I completely support and would rather see a ban including casinos.  There’s 14 months left in the current legislative session and most insiders don’t expect it to get any farther than it already is.

This week, Rep. Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard) is trying to introduce a bill that would allow local governments (ie. cities, villages, counties, townships, etc) to enact bans in their jurisdictions

A bill sponsored by Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, would let each county, city, township and village decide if people can smoke in local bars and restaurants. Courts have said Michigan law allows only the Legislature to ban smoking in food establishments.

McDowell said that should be changed because he does not think lawmakers will pass a ban on their own.

“It’ll bring the debate back home, to every township and city hall,” McDowell said in an interview. “Once one community does it, it’ll start to spread across the state. It’s hard to imagine which community in Michigan would want the notoriety of being the last to allow smoking in the workplace.”

It’s not a unique move.  Most states that ban smoking do so after a number of municipalities enact local bans.  Again, my experience is with the Illinois ban.  I know several communities banned smoking before the statewide ban went into effect.  Some refused to enact a local ban preferring a statewide ban.  

I’m not a fan of these types of bans.  Especially in a city like Lansing.  You would really need Lansing, Lansing Township, Delta Township, East Lansing, and Okemos to work together and pass a ban.  All of the studies the anti-smoking ban groups use are from these local bans…not statewide bans.  I mean, yeah, if you could drive a few blocks and be able to smoke in a bar, you probably would. 

I know it sounds big brother-ish, but smoking is an issue that the government should be involved with.  You’re not just effecting your own life, you’re altering everyone’s life around you.