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.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
So Much For That
The total ban on smoking has been un-totaled. If House Speaker Andy Dillon has his way, the three Detroit casinos and cigar bars will be exempted from the total smoking ban that cleared the state senate two weeks ago. The anti-smoking lobby has seen its dreams of a total ban go up in smoke as Dillon promises to rewrite the bill to include those exemptions. "Disappointing," laments Senator Ray Basham who has lobbied for ten years to slap a total ban on anything and everything where smoking is now permitted. In blunt legislative parlance, the casinos pressured Dillon and company and won. The anti-smoking lobby has been taught a thing or two about the legislative process. It boasted it would win because it had "people power" while the casinos had "money" power. Even though 70% of the people favor a total ban, some lawmaker's ears are more finely attuned to the sound of moola. The casinos told Dillon that if they had to ban smoking, gamblers would head to Mt. Pleasant or other tribal casinos where the state does not have the authority to impose a ban. Consequently Detroit casinos would lose profits and have to lay off upwards of 20% of their workers. Having bought that argument, Dillon, with a straight face, offers this ray of hope to the anti-smokers. He says if the Indian casinos go smoke free, than Detroit casinos would follow suit. And pray tell how in the heck might that happen? Dillon suggests the governor could renegotiate the state's agreement with the Indian casinos and insert the smoking ban. Right. That'll happen when you know what freezes over.