Press Release – Joan Bauer Comments on Hunter’s Bill

22 04 2009

From a House Democrats press release –

Bauer Joins the Fight for Smoke Free Air by 2010

Legislation would put smoke-free workplace in the hands of voters

LANSING – The Michigan State Senate today introduced a plan that will place the smoke-free workplace issue on the statewide ballot for Michigan voters to consider in 2010.

If approved by both chambers, Senate Bill 469 would ask state voters to decide the fate of an issue that has been debated in the legislature for more than a decade. The bill, introduced by State Senator Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) is comprehensive in its definition of workplaces, and includes restaurants, bars, tobacco specialty shops and casinos.

“I am confident that Michigan voters will embrace smoke-free air legislation,” said State Representative Joan Bauer (D-Lansing). “I would hope that my colleagues and I can take the proper steps to protect workers before the November 2010 election season by passing HB 4341, which I introduced earlier this year.”

Michigan voters on have been polled on smoke-free workplaces three times in the past five years and each poll has shown consistent support for the issue at or above 66 percent.



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 »

Another Local Restaurant Goes Smoke Free

20 02 2009

With a smoking ban looming, another local restaurant has decided to cut off smoking in the building.

Sammy’s Lounge on Jolly Road in Lansing has been a staple of the South side for 53 years. People could walk in without reservation and enjoy a meal, a drink, and yes, a smoke. That ended Thursday. Sammy’s went smoke-free in an effort to get ahead of the curve, as owner Mark Corey puts it. The curve being a statewide smoking ban.

I drove by Sammy’s today and the sign says the restaurant is smoke free, so I’m guessing the bar is not.  Either way, it’s a step in the right direction.

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.

Harrison Roadhouse Goes Smoke Free

1 01 2009

Saw this story on WLNS’ noon show today. 

An East Lansing restaurant is making it’s New Year’s resolution very public… it’s going *smoke free.*

The Harrison Roadhouse will officially make the move Thursday.

Just in time for it’s New Year’s day Bowl party for Michigan State University.

The operations manager says he’s been an opponent of the statewide smoking ban for a number of years and adds at this time…there’s enough people in the East Lansing area that want smoke-free dining.

All I can say is good for them.  We ate at Harrison Roadhouse back in the spring (review HERE) and really liked the place.  Going smoke free makes a second visit even more appealing.

Press Release – “Michigan Legislature Delivers Lump of Coal”

19 12 2008

From a Campaign for Smoke Free Michigan press release –

Michigan Legislature delivers lump of coal – no smokefree air for state residents
CSA frustrated with disregard for public health

Lansing, Mich. – Unable to work on a final compromise for smokefree air in Michigan, the state Legislature wrapped up Lame Duck this week and left the legislation to die.

Since both the House and Senate had passed different versions of House Bill 4163, the bill was sent to a conference committee to work out the differences. (The House had passed a version with exemptions in 2007; the Senate passed a version with no exemptions earlier this year). But leadership from each chamber was unable to work together on a final bill, and have left Lansing for the year.

“In the end, political gamesmanship is the only winner here,” said Susan Schechter, spokesperson for CSA and director of advocacy for the American Lung Association of Michigan. “Michigan workers are holding their breathe waiting for this law to pass. The leaders of these chambers know the public wants smokefree air, they have seen the science and economic numbers behind the movement, but instead they are listening to the dollars from Big Tobacco, casino and restaurant industries that flow into their campaign coffers.

“We have worked hard to educate lawmakers on the benefits of going smokefree and despite Michigan residents’ support on this issue, a select few legislators have chose to disregarded the public’s health and kill the bill. It’s an utter shame and a waste of time and money to start over this legislative process again in 2009, but that’s exactly what we have to do.”

Schecter did thank Reps. Brenda Clack, D-Flint, Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale and Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell and Sens. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond and Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt for their hard work and dedication to smokefree legislation during the conference committee.

Currently, more than half of Americans live in a city or state with smokefree workplace protection laws (34 states have smokefree workplace laws in effect). Gov. Jennifer Granholm has called on legislators to pass statewide smokefree legislation and vowed to sign the bill if it crossed her desk. CSA plans to continue to fight for smokefree air in 2009.

Press Release – Ingham County Smoke Free

9 12 2008

From an Ingham Country Press Release…’s not as good as it sounds on it’s face, but it’s a start.  This one surprise me when I got it in my inbox.  I had never heard that Ingham County was considering such an ordinance….

County Passes Smoke Free Regulation for Bars and Restaurants
Commissioners Pass Unique Resolution to Protect Public, Employees

The Ingham County Board of Commissioner today passed a first-of-its-kind regulation that would require restaurants to change non-smoking sections instead to be “smoke free.”

“Citizens expect to be able to go to their favor restaurant and eat the food and enjoy the atmosphere without having to breath in someone else’s smoke second-hand,” said Commissioner Andy Schor (D-SE Lansing). 

Schor, who chairs the Human Services Committee of the Ingham County Board of Commissioner, shepherded the resolution through the legislative body while working with the health experts on the Ingham County Health Department staff. 
The regulation passed by the County Commission would require that businesses have ample air filtration, smoke eaters, air flow, and other safeguards to separate the smoke from the non-smoking section.  From 2009 through 2014, any new business or any new major renovation would have to comply with these standards.  In 2019, all businesses in Ingham County will have to comply, although cases can be made by certain businesses for extensions.
Schor said, “This is health-conscious and business friendly. We heard and understand the concerns of businesses about cost, but we have also heard the concerns of the citizens to be smoke-free.  This resolution is the best possible compromise for the citizens of our county.”

The Legislature is considering a smoking ban in bars and restaurants, but has not passed this ban.  The Ingham County regulation would be the first of its kind to regulate and monitor how much smoke goes into a non-smoking section.

“My preference is for the Legislature to ban smoking in bars and restaurants for the health and safety of the citizens and employees,” Schor continued.  “I wish we could ban this at the local level, but the Supreme Court says we can’t….so we have taken the most proactive step that we can take.  We have started the clock for businesses and in ten years, whether the Legislature has acted or not, this county will have separation between smokers and those who don’t want to breathe in smoke.”

The regulation allows for flexibility to the County Health Department and staff will work with restaurants to ensure that they are in compliance when the regulation fully takes effect. 

So, if I understand this press release, all they did was change the name from “non-smoking” to “smoke free” and impose some new rules on air filtration that will gradually take effect over 10 years.  So, it’s not going to eliminate smoke, but it might make it better.  Again, brining up Illinois’ law.  Before they passed a smoking ban, they passed a law that gave local municipalities the option to ban.  Some did, some didn’t.  Those that didn’t expressed the same sentiments that Ingham County has….they just wanted the State to do it. 

I guess it’s a start.

Press Release – Make MI Air Smoke Free

28 07 2008

The group pushing for a smoking ban in Michigan is using a study from Illinois to further their cause.  Full disclosure, I was in favor of a smoking ban in Illinois the entire time they were debating it in the legislature.  I’ve also been back home a few times since the ban went into effect and I can tell you, not everyone is following it.  There is still a minority that refuse to follow the ban and here’s the kicker, there’s nothing that can be done to them.  The rules are still in JCAR and because of that, State’s Attorney’s don’t know how to prosecute or even what charge can be filed.  Even with that, the majority of places are following the law and no longer allow smoking.  My mom works at a small bar in the middle of the country on weekends as a waitress.  While the kitchen is open, the building is no smoking.  Once the kitchen closes and the dinner crowd clears out, the smokes come back out.  Anyway, here’s the info the Campaign for Smokefree Air wants you to know.

Illinois Survey Finds Even Stronger Support for Smokefree Air Law After it Takes Effect

Michigan’s Comprehensive Smokefree Air Legislation Held Captive in House

LANSING, MICH. – People in Illinois are even more supportive of a smokefree air law that went into effect at the beginning of this year than they were before it was approved.

According to a recent survey, 73 percent of people support the new smokefree air law; survey results showed a majority in every sector regardless of political, geographic and educational backgrounds.

“Speaker Andy Dillon has not allowed a concurrence vote on House Bill 4163 for some apparent fear of economic, political or social repercussion,” said Judy Stewart, spokesperson for the Campaign for Smokefree Air. “This survey is yet another example of the numerous positive effects and vast public support of smokefree air in all worksites, including bars, restaurants and casinos.”

House Bill 4163, Michigan’s proposed comprehensive smokefree legislation, was approved by the Senate in May and has been sitting in the House awaiting action ever since because Speaker Dillon refuses to hold a vote.

The Illinois survey also found that 38-percent of respondents are less likely to go to a smoke-filled casino, while only 17 percent are more likely to go to casinos if smoking is allowed.

Furthermore, 96 percent of respondents believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard. In addition, it was reported that 88 percent of all respondents and 68 percent of smokers believe restaurants, bars and casinos are healthier places for customers and employees under Illinois’ law.

“The people of Illinois supported the smokefree law and now, after living with it for six months, they support it even more,” Stewart said. “The people of Michigan support making all worksites in our state smokefree, including bars, restaurants and casinos. Sitting on the bill rather than allowing it to come up for a vote isn’t just about playing politics – it’s about playing with people’s lives.”

Press Release – Secondhand Smoke Study

15 07 2008

The following press release was sent out by the Campaign for Smoke Free Air.  I haven’t posted anything about the smoking ban for a while because the state legislator is on summer break.  They will be coming back next week to take up a few issues.  Could the smoking ban be one of them?  I have no idea.

LANSING– Recent declines in the exposure of U.S. residents to deadly secondhand smoke is attributable to smokefree workplace policies like the one currently being held hostage in the Michigan House of Representatives. A new study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the exposure levels of secondhand smoke have declined significantly among the U.S. population between 1988-1994 and 1999-2004.

This study is another testament to the need for a smokefree worksite law, including restaurants, bars and casinos,” said Judy Stewart, spokesperson for the Campaign for Smokefree Air. “It’s becoming clearer every day that exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous and the only way to combat those dangers is to have a smokefree law in place.” Read the rest of this entry »