Pennsylvania Crunch Time
Publication Date: 2008-03-06It's crunch time in Pennsylvania!
Seven months ago, the Pennsylvania legislature appointed a Conference Committee to work out differences between two very different versions of SB246 that were adopted by the House and Senate.
The Conference Committee is holding hearings on March 10 and 13 to begin working out the differences in SB246 and come up with a smokefree law for Pennsylvanians.
The differences are significant. The House version of the bill is strong and would bring smokefree air to most workplaces including bars and casinos, and would protect local control. However, the Senate version exempts bars, casinos, and cigar bars, and would prohibit local governments from adopting stronger laws.
There are big challenges ahead. Most of the Conference Committee members want exemptions that will leave many Pennsylvanians exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace.
Your legislators need to hear from you that Pennsylvanians have waited too long to breathe smokefree air. Now is the time to join the rest of the Northeastern states and provide simple, strong and fair smokefree protections for all workplaces and public places.
What You Can Do:
1: Contact the Conference Committee members. Urge them to adopt a strong version of SB246 that does not exempt bars, casinos or other workplaces and does not include preemption.
Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow (D-Lackawanna); (717) 787-6481
Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks); (717) 787-7305
Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R- Montgomery); (717) 787-6599
Rep. Robert Belfanti (D-Northumberland); (717) 787-5780
Web email: http://www.pahouse.com/contact/viaLDPC.asp?district=107
Rep. Michael Gerber (D- Montgomery); (717) 787-9475
Web email: http://www.pahouse.com/contact/viaLDPC.asp?district=148
Rep. Ron Miller (R-York); (717) 783-8389
Also, the House leadership is not on the Conference Committee but they do not support strong smokefree legislation:
House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese (D-Greene); (717) 783-3797
Web email: http://www.pahouse.com/deweese/contact.asp
House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson); (717) 787-3845
Web email: http://pageneralassembly.org/?sectionid=66
2: Contact your Senator and Representative, if they’re not listed above. Find your Senator and Representative here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm, then click on their names to find their phone number and email address. Encourage your legislators to apply pressure on the Conference Committee members to do the right thing by adopting a strong version of SB246 that will bring smokefree air to all workplaces without exemptions or preemption.
Pennsylvania is already behind the curve in providing smokefree protections for its workers and the public. While New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and 25 other states have enacted strong smokefree protections, Pennsylvania is set to stay at the bottom of the pack. We must make sure that Pennsylvania lawmakers understand that their constituents (that's you!) overwhelmingly support making all Pennsylvania workplaces 100% smokefree.