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.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Profits Vs. Life
As crass as it may sound, the vote this week in the Michigan House to ban smoking in saloons and restaurants comes down to a battle of profits vs. life. There is no other way to frame it. Pimping for profits: The Detroit casinos. Fighting for lives: The do-gooders in the anti smoking lobby. It comes down to this. When the senate approved the ban last week there were no exemptions. The feeling was if second hand smoke is bad for your health, it should apply across the board to every bar, eatery, casino, veteran's halls, you name it. But when the house adopted the prohibition earlier this year, it wrote an exemption for the casinos and a few others. The American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association of Michigan, affectionately known as the "Lungers", are afraid the casinos will toss around their weight and open their check books and force the house to give the casinos a pass. The private casino operators know if they are included in the ban, some gamblers may go to Indian owned casinos where state law does not apply. In other words, Detroit casinos could lose a bundle if they lose customers who want to smoke and gamble away their lives and their riches at the same time. If MGM Grand, Greektown, and Motor City get the exemption, the bill has to go back to the senate for ratification and the anti-smokers fear the measure could die. Reminded that the casinos have big bucks in this showdown, the head of the cancer society noted, "We have people power." We're about to witness which side has more legislative clout.