Friday, June 1, 2007

And now a word from the opposition...

Members of the opposition, mainly the Tavern League of Wisconsin, had the same argument over and over; they have a choice to make decisions about their businesses, and the passing of SB150 would be detrimental to their businesses.

However, smoke-free proponents effectively testified against these claims. In terms of choice, yes, Americans should have the choice to partake in certain practices if they wish; however, what if the consequences of your choices reach a point at which they are affecting others?

Sandy Anderson, President of SSM Health Care addressed this very point in her testimony, quoting Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr: "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Similarly, one's right to smoke ends at the moment it affects another's right to breathe free.

Also, if we let the Tavern League have their "choice," that would mean we would be exempting bars and taverns from SB150...and, as one bar/restaurant owner stated, "what do you tell the bar workers whose workplaces are exempted? That their health is of less importance?"

Finally, Tim Hanna, mayor of Appleton, explained in his testimony that Appleton's bars and restaurants are not hurting after Appleton went smoke-free in July 2005; in fact, Appleton is at their maximum level of liquor licenses issued, with 9 businesses on the waiting list. That's right, 9 businesses waiting to do bar business in Appleton, knowing full-well of Appleton's 100% smoke-free air law, which was sustained through three referendums: "the people of Appleton have spoken."

1 comment:

Ira said...

Greetings from California! I am pleased to say that I live a few blocks from my community’s high school and even the high school kids do not smoke.

Is the main opposition the TLW or is it Philip Morris and RJR? When I worked on smokefree in Madison, I always identified Philip Morris as the primary adversary. ANR seems to think that groups such as TLW are just front groups http://no-smoke.org/getthefacts.php?id=62

We know that Altria and RJR are members of TLW and that RJR did a grassroots organizing event for TLW and that the TLW lobbyist lobbies for PM and that RJR has formed an organization to oppose smokefree and we know all about the fact that TLW is the biggest member of the Licensed Beverage Lobbying group, a group with ties to big tobacco.

In the old days, there used to be a great deal of media coverage of big tobacco’s lobbying efforts. Now even though they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying, according to the Wisconsin Ethics Board, no one talks about the tobacco industry any more. I hope that will change.

I am sure that many people gave well thought out testimony, but the fact remains that Cowles and Kreitlow are holding up the bill. Interestingly the TLW backed Dave Zien, Kreitlow’s opponent in the last election. I hope that people who live in Green Bay and in Eau Claire will start to go public about the problems Cowles and Kreitlow are causing.