Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sen. Hunter Proposes Referendum on Smoking Ban

Senator Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, introduced SB 496 which would put the issue of smokefree workplaces on the 2010 statewide ballot. This legislation is virtually identical to Senator Ray Basham's, D-Taylor, bill SB 114 and applies to restaurants, bars, and casinos.

In a press release, Senator Hunter stated, "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. 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.”

The fact that a Detroit Senator wants to see the issue on a ballot is an interesting twist considering the Detroit Reps' strong aversion to smoke free air legislation. The House Regulatory Reform Committee's Chair, Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, is opposed to smoke free legislation as are most of the Detroit area Representatives.

There is a fear that business will decrease significantly if a smoking ban goes into effect. People will flee from the state, people will abandon casinos, bars, and their love of going out to eat. This fear is unfounded and based on lies.

A study conducted by the New York City Department of Finance showed that "tax receipts increased by 8.7 percent, or approximately $1.4 million, after the city went smokefree." In addition, the first nine months following the smoke free law's inception 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. In fact over 300 studies conducted by peer research journals have shown similar results. When smoke free dining laws go into effect, business goes up.

A recent poll revealed that two-thirds of Michigan voters support a workplace ban that includes bars and restaurants. If this bill passes we may just have our say. Whether this bill will even see the floor however, has yet to be seen.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting fact is that there were four restaurants/bars that appealed the City of Marquette's 100% smokefree regulation. They won their suit due to preemption language in State Law. The interesting part is that three are now 100% smokefree and one went out of business.