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Monday, February 21, 2005

Smoking ban goes to Senate floor

After narrowly winning a vote in committee, the smoking ban bill will be headed to the Senate floor. Pundits say it's too close to call, and given the 9-7 vote in committee today, they're probably right. In the end, though, I think it will pass, and in my opinion it can't come soon enough. The bill still has some more hurdles to go over in the House, so this story will be with us for a while yet.


At 10:50 AM, February 22, 2005, Blogger DP said...

I think it will pass as well, but the question is will there be an ammendment exepmting bars which dont' have >60% sales from food. I am surprised, though, in the media coverage that nobody has pointed to the experience of California and New York with smoking bans.

We always have to hear the quote from the restaurant industry that this will hurt small business, people will lose thier jobs etc. . . These claims always go unchallenged by the reporters. While I am sure that there are anecdotes, I am unaware of any study that actually shows business being hurt by smoking bans. Whereas several studies have shown no effect. Examples here and here just a couple. Kevin Drum cited a NYT article with this quote:

Back in 2002, when the City Council was weighing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's proposal to eliminate smoking from all indoor public places, few opponents were more fiercely outspoken than James McBratney, president of the Staten Island Restaurant and Tavern Association.

....Asked last week what he thought of the now two-year-old ban, Mr. McBratney sounded changed. "I have to admit," he said sheepishly, "I've seen no falloff in business in either establishment." He went on to describe what he once considered unimaginable: Customers actually seem to like it, and so does he.

....A vast majority of bar and restaurant patrons interviewed last week, including self-described hard-core smokers, said they were surprised to find themselves pleased with cleaner air, cheaper dry-cleaning bills and a new social order created by the ban.

I hope this issue gets more play when it comes to debate in the full Senate. I am just looking forward to March 31 when Minneapolis goes smoke-free. . .

At 12:49 PM, February 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When this passes can we then focus our energies on legalizing Marijuana?

At 12:46 PM, February 25, 2005, Anonymous Charles Gerlach said...

As a life long Democrat, I wonder if our elected officials have lost touch with the 'common' man and woman who don't identify with party, but vote. They are also known as "swing voters" and I'm pretty sure they watch television, drink beer, and smoke cigarettes. Why do we constantly want to be the party that pisses off the common man?

And in response, let our opponents say: Golly, we hate smoking too. Bad nasty business. But let's let the market decide; we'll treat grown adults like grown adults.

Who do you think is going to win that debate?

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