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.


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 »

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.

Press Release – MDCH Director Urges Smoking Ban Passage

15 12 2008

From an Michigan Department of Community Health press release –

MDCH Director Urges State Legislature to pass Smoke-Free Law

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is once again
strongly encouraging the Michigan State Legislature to pass a law
banning second hand smoking in public places including restaurants and
bars. While attempting to reach a compromise, the state Legislature
recently pondered the idea of allowing businesses to avoid the ban by
buying a special permit.

“While compromise may be needed, the state Legislature must protect
its citizens from second hand smoke,” said MDCH Director Janet
Olszewski. “Michigan needs a strong, firm, concrete law that outright
bans smoking in public places. Allowing businesses to buy their way out
of the law would be unacceptable and unfair to Michigan residents.”

Second hand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of death and
when smoking occurs in the workplace, employees find they are exposed to
cancer causing substances all day long. Research has shown that tobacco
smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals of which 60 are known carcinogens.
Contrary to popular belief, separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning
the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures to
secondhand smoke.

MDCH understands the urgency of passing a smoke-free law during the
lame duck session, which officially ends Dec. 30. The department is
asking state legislators to put aside political gamesmanship and do what
is appropriate for Michigan residents.

Clean Smoking Ban Up for Vote! – FAILS

23 09 2008

I’m a little behind on this.  I just got a phone call telling me to turn on House TV.  HB 4163 is on the floor right now and they are debating. 

3:42 PM – The bill’s sponsor, Brenda Clack (D-Flint) is urging colleagues to support because they will NOT be the first State to do this.

The board is open and they are voting on concurring with the Senate substitute.

3:53 PM – The board is still open for record roll call.  There’s a lot of yellow still on the board.  As for our local reps, Joan Bauer, Mark Meadows, and Barb Byrum have all voted yes.

4:00 PM – An announcement was made that the board will be closed in one minute.  Still a lot of Representatives haven’t voted.

4:03 PM –  Board is closed.  I’m waiting for the clerk to read the results.  It’s too close to tell by just looking at it.

4:07 PM – By my count, the measure failed, but 19 Representatives have not voted.  The Chair is recognizing those who have not voted.  Tempoarry excuses for four of the Reps have been granted and two Aye votes have been added.

4:10 PM – Two more late Ayes and two more Nay’s.  It’s going to turn out to be a very, very close vote.

4:12 PM – 50 Yes vote and 49 No votes.  However, the the majority of the members serving have NOT voted in favor.  They needed 56 Aye votes.  There are 11 Representatives that did not vote so that means, the motion was not concurred.  HB 4163 did not pass today because not everyone voted.

Majority Floor Leader Tobocman moved to reconsider the vote by which HB 4163 failed and moved to pass that motion for the day.  What that means is the Democrats have the option to bring the vote up again later in the week or the session.

Press Release – International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers

8 09 2008

Haven’t had a smoking ban post in a while, but I got this press release today from the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retaliers…..out of Georigia. 

LANSING, Michigan September 8, 2008 – According to Chris McCalla,
legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers
Association, his organization has learned that the Michigan state
legislature will likely reopen debate on a proposed statewide smoking ban
based on erroneous information provided by well-funded anti-smoking forces.

Michigan’s State Representatives and Senators have been deadlocked on a
proposal for several months with each preferring their own version of such a
ban. McCalla believes the two chambers are working to approve a statewide
smoking ban by the end of this current session. Read the rest of this entry »

Now You Know How the Rest of Us Feel

31 07 2008

You can smoke in restaurants in Michigan, but apparently, you can only smoke approved cancer sticks at some joints.

“On Saturday my brother and I were enjoying breakfast at Fleetwood Diner (on South Cedar Street). This is our normal destination for meetings, and has been since the diner opened.

“As usual, when we finished our meal we sat and had cigarettes and talked about different issues.”

Suddenly the two men were asked to take it outside. It seems that the smoke from their peach-flavored cigarettes offended the nostrils of somebody who worked at the diner.

That’s how I feel every freaking time I walk into a restaurant that allows smoking, but I deal with it.  The Fleetwood just made a case for banning smoking in restaurants and they don’t even know it.  My nostrils are offended by all cigarettes…not just the flavored ones.  If you can you kick patrons out because you don’t like their certain cigs, you should ban smoking outright!

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.”

House May Give on Smoking Ban

19 06 2008

MIRS News is reporting that Houe Majority Floor Leader Steve Tobocman (D-Detroit) may call the total ban (HB 4163) that the Senate passed for a vote if the Senate doesn’t act on the bill the House sent back to them. 

Tobocman said he will wait to “see if the Senate goes along with the exemptions,” but if it does not, House Democrats are prepared to adopt the Sen. Ray Basham (D-Taylor) bill that imposes an across-the-board smoking ban on every public place.

There is no timeframe given.  It sounds like they’re hoping the threat of passing the total ban will get the Senate to move on the ban with exemptions.  Sounds to me like he’s calling the Senate’s bluff.

Could the House Vote on the Smoking Ban Tonight?

27 05 2008

I’ve got House TV on in the background and at 7:45 PM, they’re still in session.   I’ve heard from friends in the media that phone calls to both caucuses and the Clerk have had some wierd answers.  The Democrats caucused for quite a while late this afternoon and as of this writing, the House “At Ease At The Call Of The Chair.”   I’ll keep the video feed up while I’m watching TV tonight to see if anything happens. 

8:07 PM – The House has been called back to order.

8:20 PM – I’ve been told by that same friend that the House has “a lot of business” to deal with and they are planning on staying late into the night.  Still wouldn’t answer whether HB 4163 would be called tonight or not.

8:29 PM – In another surprise move, the House in now voting on SB 776 which is the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, so it looks like they really are expecting a long night.

10:54 – They are STILL in session.  They just announced there will be no further voting tonight, but the House will be back in session tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 10 AM instead of their usual 1:30 PM start time.