Press Release – Senator Proposes Referendum on Smoking Ban

22 04 2009

Here’s a new twist.  Senator Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) is proposing putting the smoking ban on the 2010 ballot.  This seems, to me, a drastic change from what the Detroit contigency has been saying about the ban.  I would be willing to bet that IF this question makes it to the ballot, it would pass overwhelmingly….so for that reason, I wouldn’t expect it to make it out of either chamber.

Hunter Introduces Bill to Put Smokefree Workplace Issue on the Statewide BallotBill would create ballot proposal to let voters–not special interests–decide if workplaces should go smokefree

 

LANSING- Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) introduced a bill today that would put the issue of smokefree workplaces on the 2010 statewide ballot. Under this legislation, the ballot proposal would call for all worksites to be smokefree and not include exemptions for restaurants, bars, or casinos.

“For the past 10 years, the Legislature has tried and failed to pass a smokefree worksite bill that would protect our citizens from smoking-related diseases,” said Sen. Hunter. “Instead of continuing to argue about exemptions and concessions, we need to go to the voters and let them decide what is best for Michigan.”

Data from the New York City Department of Finance shows that tax receipts increased by 8.7 percent, or approximately $1.4 million, after the city went smokefree. Between March 2003, when the city went smokefree, and December 2003 there were 10,600 new jobs in its bars and restaurants. Florida saw similar results, and reported that retail receipts for taverns and bars that served food remain unaffected by its smokefree law.

“For my entire legislative career, I have fought on behalf of a majority of Michigan’s citizens who feel Michigan workplaces should be smokefree, only to have my concerns fall on deaf ears or be drowned out by special interests,” said Sen. Ray Basham (D-Taylor), a cosponsor of the bill and longtime advocate for smokefree workplaces. “I had hoped to protect the health of Michigan workers through state legislation, but I am confident that if we let the people of Michigan decide at the ballot box, we can finally move Michigan forward on this issue.”

Recent studies show that nearly 2/3 of Michigan voters support a workplace ban that includes bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, Michigan remains one of the 15 states left that has yet to pass legislation to create smokefree workplaces. Thirty-five states have already passed similar legislation to protect their workers form deadly exposure to secondhand smoke, including Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.

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Press Release – Michigan Voters Support Smoking Ban

30 03 2009

This is from a Campaign for Smoke Free Michigan press release.  I’m always a little skeptical of organizations that release “poll numbers” that favor their position.  I’m not saying they did, but they could have conducted this “survey” a hundred times until they got the results they wanted.

Michigan voters support smokefree air
New poll shows overwhelming support for smokefree legislation

LANSING, Mich. – A new poll released today by the Campaign for Smokefree Air (CSA) shows an
overwhelming majority of voters are supportive of legislation to make worksites in Michigan smokefree.
Sixty-six percent — two-thirds of those interviewed — favored smokefree workplace legislation, including 52 percent who “strongly favor” it. When asked specifically about legislation including making casinos smokefree, two-thirds, or 64 percent, were in favor of including casinos in the legislation. The numbers are consistent with the poll CSA conducted in 2005 of Michigan voters.

Support for a smokefree law crosses party lines, as 73 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents and 62 percent of Republicans say they favor smokefree legislation that includes restaurants, bars, and casinos.

“Smokefree air is not a political issue – it’s a public health issue that will improve the economy of our state and keep all workers from having to inhale secondhand smoke in the workplace,” said Susan Schechter, spokesperson for CSA and advocacy director for the American Lung Association. “We’re hoping that legislators will take this information seriously and listen to what Michigan residents want and pass legislation – with no exemptions.” Read the rest of this entry »





Press Release – CSA’s Take on Smoking Ban Hearings

18 03 2009

From a Campaign for Smoke Free Air press release….

Advocates make their case about need for smokefree
legislation before House committee
Multiple hearings planned throughout March

Lansing, Mich. – Advocates for smokefree workplaces made their case today before the House
Regulatory Reform Committee when they testified on smokefree legislation and urged its
immediate passage. Multiple bills have been introduced and referred to the house committee,
which began a series of hearings this week.

The Campaign for Smokefree Air (CSA) is continuing to work with lawmakers in the House and
Senate to make Michigan the 36th state to embrace smokefree air and protect all workers from
exposure to the dangerous toxins in secondhand smoke. Thirty-five other states have statewide
smokefree workplace policies and more than half of Americans now live in a city or state with
smokefree workplace protection laws.

“This hearing is a step in the right direction in the fight for smokefree air in Michigan,” said Judy
Stewart, campaign manger for CSA. “Lawmakers need to listen to their constituents’ persistent
demands for smokefree air and pass comprehensive, statewide legislation.”
The House Regulatory Reform Committee today listened as lawmakers, doctors, business
owners and victims of secondhand smoke gave their testimonies on why Michigan should go
smokefree. Read the rest of this entry »





Press Release – Small Business Testifies Against Smoking Ban

18 03 2009

I got the following press release from the Michigan Licensed Beverage assocation in regards to this morning’s committee hearing regarding the smoking ban.  I don’t agree with it and there’s no proof that this has happened anywhere else, but it’s the case they’re trying to make.  Again, I can give you names of owners that were against a smoking ban in other states only to find out business was BETTER after it was enacted.

Small Business Advocates Testify

to Save Michigan Jobs

 

Bar owners fight to survive Michigan economy

 

LANSING, Mich. — Legislators are putting hundreds of small businesses and thousands of jobs at risk with the threat of a statewide smoking ban, members of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) told the House Regulatory Reform Committee today.  The MLBA urged lawmakers to protect small businesses across the state by voting against a statewide smoking ban.

            “A statewide smoking ban is a ban on thousands of Michigan jobs,” said Lance Binoniemi, executive director of the Michigan Licensed and Beverage Association. “Given Michigan’s dire economy, any unnecessary regulations on small businesses are downright economically irresponsible.”

Binoniemi and MLBA members – Rick Roberson, owner of Angelo’s & Riccardo’s in Hesperia; Rick Swindlehurst, owner of  the Blue Gator Sports Pub and Grill and Cheers Neighborhood Grill & Bar in Mount Pleasant; Dave Munson, owner or the Summer Trail Inn in Standish; and Kassandra Renneberg, owner of the Riverdale Tavern in Riverdale Michigan – made the case that forcing Michigan businesses to compete with American Indian-owned casinos that would be exempt from any state-sanctioned smoking ban, would directly put hundreds of Michigan businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Michigan currently has more than 750 businesses surrounding its American Indian-owned casinos.

 “Enacting a statewide smoking ban will gamble away thousands of Michigan jobs,” said Michael Batterbee, director of government relations for the Small Business Association of Michigan.  

“With the highest unemployment rate in the nation, now is not the time to put a single Michigan job at risk.”

More than 5,500 businesses in Michigan’s hospitality industry have already made the decision to go smoke-free and the number keeps growing. The hospitality industry is Michigan’s second largest employer, providing thousands of food-service careers and millions of dollars in payroll and business taxes to the state.

 “All businesses are not the same. If a business owner has built a clientele that chooses to smoke, they should be able to serve that customer base they have worked so hard to obtain.” said Binoniemi. “Lawmakers have a serious responsibility to struggling business owners all over the state to ensure they are able to keep their business – and Michigan – competitive.”





Home of Marlboro Bans Smoking

9 03 2009

So the state with the largest cigarette manufacturing factory can ban smoking in most public places but Michigan can’t because of a few casino’s?

The home state of Marlboro and the world’s largest cigarette factory is set to ban most smoking in restaurants and bars.

Gov. Tim Kaine plans to sign legislation on Monday in Virginia Beach that takes effect Dec. 1.

Kaine worked for years for a total ban on smoking in all restaurants. The bill that lawmakers passed last month falls short of that but generally restricts smoking to separate rooms that have their own ventilation.

Virginia has grown tobacco for 400 years. Philip Morris churns out Marlboros and Virginia Slims at the world’s largest cigarette factory in Richmond.





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