December 20, 2008 - There will be no statewide ban on smoking in public places -- for now. State lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a ban early this morning, December 19, 2008 leaving anti-smoking advocates bitterly disappointed and a new Legislature to grapple in 2009 with an issue that has wide public support.
In a final, marathon lame duck session that began Thursday morning, the House and Senate could not overcome disagreements over whether to allow smoking in casinos and smoke shops.
“It is a serious disappointment, it’s another signal that Michigan doesn’t quite get it, is not quite ready to step into the 21st Century,” said Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, a leading proponent for a smoking ban who acknowledged the issue was dead for this year. “It sends an unfortunate message to the citizens of Michigan that we don’t care about their health, and that there are interests in Lansing that have greater influence than they do.” Meisner said compromise proposals could have passed the House and Senate, but that Democratic and Republican leaders could not agree to allow those votes.
The defeat left smoking ban proponents talking of a 2010 ballot proposal to accomplish it if lawmakers can't. Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she believes the Legislature will conform to "overwhelming" public sentiment next year and pass the ban. But if not, a petition drive is possible. Advocates say 33 other states ban smoking in public places to some degree. They cited numerous studies to argue that a ban would not affect business at bars and restaurants overall.
Reference: Public smoking ban fizzlesby CHRIS CHRISTOFF • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER, TV20 Detroit, 12/19/2008; Anti-smoking advocates look to 2009 after another bill fails
Those pushing for a workplace ban may pursue more legislation or consider a ballot drive, Jennifer Mrozowski / The Detroit News, 12/20/2008.
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