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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Euphoria Turns To Apprehension

  Euphoria Turns to Apprehension
      Hackneyed as it is, what a difference a week makes, is true when it comes to the total ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, VFW halls, casinos, and cigar bars.
      Last week the anti smoking lobbying was overjoyed by the out of nowhere senate vote to ban tobacco all over the state.  That was quickly replaced this week with fears that the ban would be nibbled to death by the casinos, the cigar bars, and others who seek exemptions from the total ban.
     "We are upset," laments Katherine Knoll from the American Heart Association.  She tells FOX2 News that the house should not be considering any carve outs for special interests.
       Tell that to the special interests. They won round one in the House where the anti-smokers had their fingers crossed the house will merely rubber stamp what the senate did and send it merrily along to the governor for her signature.
       Instead the vote was scrubbed giving the casinos more time to work their magic on lawmakers to get what they want.
       They have even found a sympathetic ear with one of the major sponsors of the total ban.  Flint democrat Rep. Brenda Clack does not want to ban smoking in cigar bars and while she says she wants a total ban everywhere else, she concedes she may have to compromise and grant even more exemptions.
      Casinos continue to beat the drum that 15-25% of the Detroit casino workers will be out of work if smokers can't puff away thus driving them to Tribal casinos where the ban would not apply.
      The anti smokers contend if those same workers are exposed to second hand smoke, they won't be out of work, they'll be out of life.
      Stay tuned as all this comes to a head next week where a total ban on smoking, celebrated by many one week ago, is now on life support.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anti-smoking groups should have seen this coming. The Senate's version of a smoking ban goes far beyond just about what any other state has done.

Every state except one (Washington) with a smoking ban exempts tobacco shops -- but Michigan's proposed ban does not. Nevermind that a nonsmoker working or entering a cigar store makes as much sense as a teetotaler working in a wine shop. I don't think any cigar store employees asked for protection.

Even the bans supported by, and in some cases placed on the ballot, by heart and lung groups exempted dedicated tobacco stores.

And cigar bars are permitted in New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and several other of the 32 states that have bans the anti-smoking groups like to cite.

And the Detroit casinos, which have built multibillion-dollar gambling palaces don't like the idea that after making such an investment, Native American casinos, which pay almost no tax, get a free pass on the smoking issue.

I don't know if that was what the Senate expected would happen, but I sure did.

May 15, 2008 at 1:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Detroit casinos honestly think that if people can't smoke there they will drive to Battle Creek or Mt. Pleasant just so they can smoke.

May 16, 2008 at 4:52 AM 

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