Michigan Smoking Might Be Back!

You can read the article I’m referencing here but I’m going to highlight the important part: SB 352 (which you can read here)

A State Senator from Michigan, Rick Jones, has introduced Senate Bill 352 to amend the onerous smoking ban. If adopted, there is a remote possibility we cigar smokers could once again light up and enjoy a God given liberty (I’m sure God enjoys a Davidoff from time to time). Here’s what SB 352 is all about:

  • A “food service” establishment or other non-public place described in a sub-section I’ve no interest in looking up, may create a smoking room so long as:
    • The room is enclosed, floor to ceiling, with no openings for the smoke to exit from;
    • It’s equipped with its own ventilation/filtration system OR
    • There is a second set of doors, creating a vestibule (if you will) where the smoke gets trapped between one set of doors and the other.
  • The room must close one hour prior to the rest of the establishment closing to allow ample time for the room to “clear out” (my words, not the legislation’s) before any employee would have to go in there to bus tables, pick up trash, etc.
  • No one must be required to go through the smoke room to get somewhere else within the facility, nor are employees required to go in there while open to the public.
  • It also allows for smoking on a patio so long as:
    • The outdoor patio area is outside of the contiguous walls and entry doors of the food service establishment;
    • Alcohol is allowed in the outdoor patio area.

I love this proposal. Do I think it’ll go anywhere? Not really. It was first introduced May, 2011 and immediately sent to the Government Operations committee. Now, unless things have changed in that committee since I last worked in the State Senate, my boss hated when his legislation went into that committee because that was where bills “went to die”. Add to the fact it’s State Senator Rick Jones’ bill and he’s not exactly a mover & shaker, the likelihood of it going anywhere is slim to none. Trust me, I’d love to be wrong.

But it is better than nothing, and our rights weren’t taken away from us overnight, so we’re not going to get them back overnight. I think this legislation is a great start, however, and it’s a reasonable start. That all being said, seeing legislation like this come along is certainly a breath of fresh air.

2 thoughts on “Michigan Smoking Might Be Back!

  1. AccessVegas Reply

    Part of it depends on how much MI smokers are willing to roll their sleeves up. When our repeal got rolling, the entire cigar community got busy as hell. We wrote our legislators until it got passed, then wrote the governor encouraging him to sign it.

    If it goes to committee, you need to write the committee members even if they are not from your district. Too often, anti-smoking legislation gets into place (and isn’t repealed) because the anti-smoking people make all the noise and no one stands up on the other side.

    The restrictions on this are so heavy that even if it passed, would that many bars shell out the money it will take to create these kinds of rooms? And…. if the servers are not allowed to go in, that isn’t good. The place could turn into a dump (imagine a bar where the bartender never picked up anything).

    Plus, having to shut down an hour before the rest of the place closes could be tough. What about Monday Night Football where a place only stays open until the end of the game. They would have to close the smoking section an hour before the game ended. Same with Sunday night football, college football, and if a MI team was playing on the west coast.

    On the flip side, getting this passed would be better than nothing. Just as our rights to have a drink somewhere (.08 isn’t near being drunk) or enjoy a cigar were chipped away at over the years, we might not be able to win it back in one fell swoop. We’ll have to fight every step of the way, one step at a time.

    • j9gillik Reply

      Too true. It’s the little things — like joining Cigar Rights of America and cultivating relationships with state and local legislators — that will help either turn the tide or at least staunch the wound.

      Well, that and not electing Democrats. 🙂

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