California smokefree workplace bill has a renewed chance! Speak up today.
Publication Date: 2012-06-27
Senate Bill 575, a bill to close some of the most problematic exemptions in California’s smokefree workplace law, has a renewed opportunity to move forward this week. Examples include eliminating exemptions that permit smoking in businesses with five or fewer employees and employee break rooms. California lags behind 23 other states and hundreds of communities with stronger smokefree laws that more effectively protect their employees and the public.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Committee on Governmental Organization tomorrow, Thursday, June 28. Senate Bill 575 has been stuck in this committee since July 2011, when Committee Chair Assembly Member Isadore Hall (D-Los Angeles) used political maneuvering to block a hearing on this important public health measure.
What can you do to help?
Please click here to send an email to your Assembly member to ask that he/she support Senate Bill 575. You can edit the letter to include your own personal comments and stories, which are very compelling for legislators to hear. If you prefer to make a phone call, you can look up your Assembly member’s phone number here: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/yourlegislator.
Senate Bill 575 would eliminate exemptions that currently permit smoking in:
- Businesses with five or fewer employees
- Employee break rooms
- Owner-operated businesses
- Lobbies, banquet rooms, and meeting rooms in hotels and motels
- Warehouse facilities, with a proposed amendment to permit smoking in warehouses used exclusively by tobacco manufacturers & distributors
- and, reduce the percent of hotel & motel guest rooms that may allow smoking from 65% to 20%
Senate Bill 575 will be a step forward to provide more Californians with a healthier, smokefree workplace. This bill removes many, but not all, of the current exemptions in the state smokefree workplace law. The most disappointing exemption will continue allowing smoking in retail tobacco stores and cigar bars. While the bill will leave more to accomplish, it would be a step forward to expand protections to many Californians who are currently breathing toxic tobacco smoke on the job.
The tobacco industry has let California know over the last few months that it will do anything to stop effective tobacco prevention efforts, and we cannot continue to let them influence public health in our state.
Even if you aren’t personally exposed to tobacco smoke on the job, many other Californians are suffering from exposure in the workplace, and we all need to speak up for everyone’s right to breathe smokefree air.
Thanks for taking action!