Friday, May 8, 2009

Michigan legislators need to do their jobs

There’s been a lot of fuss lately about Sen. Tupac Hunter’s, D-Detroit, bill which would place the smoke free air issue on the 2010 ballot. The proposal, if passed, would finally give Michigan a fully comprehensive smoke free workplaces law. The casino issue would be moot because they wouldn’t get the exemption that has been one of the major reasons behind the hold up.

While Senator Hunter’s proposal is admirable, it doesn’t address the problem. The problem isn’t just smoke free air; the problem is “key legislators” like Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, and Speaker Andy Dillon, R-Redford. These two have managed to step on the bill at every opportunity, outwardly shirking their responsibilities to the people of Michigan while kissing babies as they take steps towards their next political aspirations (Bishop for Attorney General and Dillon for Governor).

During last December’s near passage of the smoke free workplaces bill, it seemed like Dillon was behind the bill. He has said publicly that he’s behind the bill, but conversations with the Speaker have revealed that he’d vote “NO” on a bill if it ever got out of committee. This is an interesting reveal coming from the same man who, during his inaugural speech this year, prioritized the smoke free workplaces bill and challenged himself and his colleagues to pass it before summer.

It has become abundantly clear to anyone paying attention to this issue that Andy Dillon has broken his word to the 2/3 of Michigan citizens who support this bill. He is the one stopping the bill from getting to the House floor, he is the one who has stymied any movement by grassroots advocates, and he is the one who should take responsibility.

It is well understood that the smoke free workplaces issue would pass overwhelmingly if it were to wind up on the ballot. But keep in mind that would be an expensive and ugly process that places the entire burden on Michigan citizens. Why should YOU shoulder the workload and expense of the legislature’s job? Why should YOU be responsible for cleaning up a mess that Andy Dillon has made worse?

During his inaugural speech he said, “[Michiganders] expect us to make the tough decisions, just like they are making at home and in the corporate boardroom throughout the state. They sent us here to do a job, and it is incumbent upon us, as their employees, to do it.” Call him today at (888) 737-3455 or email at and tell him to do his job and get a comprehensive smoke free law passed.

As for Marlboro Mike Bishop, his hands aren’t clean either. He can act on SB 114 (Sen. Basham's comprehensive smoke free bill) any time he wants. As for Sen. Hunter’s ballot initiative? Bishop stuck it in Government Operations and Reform, aka “Where Bills Go To Die.” He’s said in the past that when it comes to a smoke free bill, it’s all or nothing. Well, 66% of Michigan residents want it all. Tell him to listen to his constituency and protect the public health. He can be reached at (877) 924-7467 and

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