Michigan - smoking ban takes effect May 1, 2010 but may be difficult to enforce..

April 15, 2010 -

Even with enforcement limitations County Executive believes smoking ban is going to be 95-98 percent self enforced by the businesses and patrons. - Which Would Be Excellent..

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson retreated from a legal battle over a smoking ban this afternoon. Early this morning, April 15th he said he was suing the state over the smoking ban in restaurants and bars, that was set to take effect May 1, 2010. But six hours later, after receiving about 100 phone calls and e-mails opposing his position, he reversed himself and said he was withdrawing the lawsuit filed with the Michigan Court of Appeals. “If the public doesn’t want me to challenge this unfunded mandate, I’m going to withdraw the lawsuit,” he said. “If I don’t have public support for what I’m doing, I’m going to reverse myself.”

Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the smoking ban into law on December 18, 2009..

Patterson supports the ban, but not the possibility that his health department will have to enforce the smoke free workplace law. Patterson: “I have 26 sanitarians stretched thin already. They can’t take on any more responsibilities."

While the county is going to try and figure out some way to comply with the law, Patterson predicted it would be a disaster. “It’s destined to fail. I think it’s going to 95-98% self enforced by the businesses and patrons,” he said. “If we get 10,000 calls, there are going to be a lot of unanswered complaints.”

A spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm said shortly after noon that the governor wants to see the smoking ban enforced. “We support the smoking ban,” said spokeswoman Liz Boyd.

Boyd said the state Department of Community Health had provided some financial assistance to counties in preparation for the May 1 implementation of the law. But she declined to comment on whether the requirements imposed on county health departments overall violated the Headlee amendment, as Patterson alleged.

Reference: Patterson retreats, won't sue over smoking ban by KATHLEEN GRAY,
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER (Staff writers Dawson Bell and Matt Helms contributed to this report), Detroit Free Press, 4/15/2010.

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