Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New smoke-free neighbor?

The Detroit News reported that an amended smoke-free law could clear the Michigan Legislature this year. It is disappointing to hear that it will most likely exempt casinos. Leadership from both houses indicated that passing this important health protecting bill is a priority before the holiday recess. Leadership indicated the votes were there to pass a smoke-free workplaces, restaurants and bars law, but its appears the votes are a little thin on including the casinos. While this would be an important step forward for public health, it leaves out workers in Detroit casinos who deserve protection from secondhand smoke- just like other workers.

The compromise legislation would allow smoking on the casino floor but not in hotels, restaurants, or bars located in casinos. Some of the reports on Michigan's progress towards becoming the next smoke-free state are disturbingly similar to Wisconsin's debate- words like compromise and "let's just get this thing done." Wisconsin and Michigan both considered smoke-free legislation last legislative session. Both states did not pass comprehensive legislation. Legislators in both states are or were concerned about "getting it done" instead of getting it right. Let's hope Michiganders can stand strong for smoke-free workplaces, restaurants, bars, and casinos.

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