A smoking ban bill that cleared the Michigan House earlier this week seems to have stalled in the Senate. The bill would ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and other workplaces.
The Democrats tried to send the bill to the Health Policy Committee, where the Republican chair, Dr. Tom George (R-Kalamazoo) supports the ban; instead, the bill was sent to the Government Operations and Reform Committee, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester). Dr. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) who also supports the ban, voted to send it to Bishop’s committee in order to respect the Majority Leader’s wishes of sending the bill where he wanted to.
If all 17 Democratic Senators, plus George and Kahn vote for the bill, Lt. Governor Don Cherry could cast the tie-breaking vote for it, and Governor Granholm would be expected to sign it into law.
Here are my thoughts: Do I support THIS ban? No. Would I support an initiative brought up by the people? Yes. I just don’t see a smoking ban as something the government needs to get into. If you don’t like smoke, don’t go to a restaurant where there’s smoke. People argue that with the second hand smoke, “It’s unhealthy for my kids in those restaurants.” Yeah, well, the food that they’re eating there probably isn’t as healthy as a well-cooked organic meal that you could eat back home either. On the other side, many people say that it’d be bad for businesses and the economy. I don’t buy this though (for bars, yes, but for most restaurants, no). I know quite a few smokers (even most of my extended family) and they can all go out to dinner and not have a cigarette for 2 hours (if you NEED one, then go outside, or get one of those Nico-patch thingies). As well, last time I checked, McDonald’s and Burger King weren’t going out of business, and you can’t smoke there.
So – I think Michigan should be smoke free, but if it’s so important like people are now complaining that it is, then go out, draft a bill, get the signatures and get it on the November ballot. THEN I’ll vote for it.
(It should be noted that there are many Senators who don’t think the bill is completely dead yet, but that it would stand a better chance in the Health Policy Committee, so I’ll keep you updated on this story).