Michigan Lawmakers Take Big Step Towards Smoking Ban

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A state House committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would ban smoking in the workplace, including bars and restaurants.

The House Commerce Committee's 12-4 vote is considered a major step by health groups and other members of a coalition who favor the smoking ban. But the proposal still has a long way to go before it could become state law.

The bill now goes to the House floor for the chamber's consideration. The bill also would have to pass the Senate and get Gov. Jennifer Granholm's signature to become law.

The legislation is opposed by the Michigan Restaurant Association and some bar and restaurant owners who say business owners ought to be able to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking.

Those groups say customer demand is adequately driving decisions about where smoking is allowed. The state has nearly twice as many smoke-free restaurants and taverns than it did a decade ago, according to the restaurant association.

More than half the states have enacted some sort of ban on smoking in public or workplace areas, according to supporters of the Michigan campaign. Some of those bans don't apply to restaurants and bars.

The proposal headed to the Michigan House floor would cover most businesses, but would exempt cigar bars and smoke shops.

"We are moving Michigan forward on health issues," said Rep. Brenda Clack, a Democrat from Flint and a main sponsor of the legislation.

An amendment that would have exempted casinos, private clubs and places with liquor licenses failed.

Some Republicans argued that the state shouldn't mettle in setting rules for private clubs.

"You have a choice about whether or not to enter," Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said of private clubs.

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  • by Mel Location: Coldwater on Jul 25, 2007 at 07:38 AM
    Since smokers are not considerate, I for one am glad the government is stepping in. To John from Jackson, overeating only affects YOU. Smoking affects all those around you.
  • by John Location: Jackson on Jul 25, 2007 at 05:40 AM
    Another example of the government trying to take away our freedoms under the guise of being "in our best interest", or health issues. Gee, overeating is bad for you too, but you dont see them banning buffet resturants do you???
  • by Norma Location: Lansing on Jul 24, 2007 at 03:23 PM
    I am currently trying to stop smoking, but I am really getting sick and tired of other people making my choices for me. I think the government and small groups should keep their business theirs and leave the rest of us alone. Pretty soon they will be in our homes and more personal business and all our rights will be decided by whomever. Where is it going to end???????
  • by Bill Location: Holt on Jul 24, 2007 at 01:38 PM
    I am a vetran who has fought to keep this country "FREE". If I want to go to a bar or a restraunt and have a smoke while I'm there who are these lawmakers, the same ones who can't balance a budge, to tell me that I have no right to smoke while I'm out having a good time. Worry about the state as a whole not one small part of it!
  • by just candid Location: USA on Jul 24, 2007 at 12:37 PM
    Smoking is not cool nor "kool",just something the backward and slow to learn still do.
  • by Meg Location: Detroit on Jul 24, 2007 at 09:42 AM
    Have other states such as Ohio, Florida, and California really suffered due to their state laws banning smoking. It's wonderful to eat and imbibe at their smoke-free establishments. Funny, two weeks ago I waited for 20 minutes for a non-smoking seat at a Chilis while the smoking section had multiple tables available. I really think with all our knowledge of the dangers due to second hand smoke that the great state of Michigan move forward.
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