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News Summary

Lawmakers push to finalize extent of smoking ban

Publication Date: 9/11/2008
  • Author:CHRIS CHRISTOFF
  • Publication:Detroit (MI) Free Press

A proposed statewide ban on smoking in public and work places could light up the Legislature by next week, as antismoking forces push for action before lawmakers recess Sept. 25 until after the November election.

A final attempt to reach a compromise between the House and Senate will determine whether a smoking ban applies not only to bars and restaurants but also to cigar bars, bingo halls and Detroit's casinos.

House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, said if a compromise isn't reached with Senate Republicans, the House will vote on a bill to ban smoking in all public places, something the Senate already has passed.

Advocates say a smoking ban would protect the health of employees in all workplaces from secondhand smoke, and make bars and restaurants desirable to more people...

Dillon said he will meet with Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, to discuss a compromise, which seemed unlikely Wednesday. Bishop opposes a state smoking ban, but he allowed the GOP-led Senate in May to pass an outright ban.

Senate Republicans are against a modified ban that exempts Detroit's three casinos, saying it would be unfair to prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants but allow it in casinos. Bishop won't budge from that position, said his spokesman, Matt Marsden, adding, "A ban is a ban is a ban, no exceptions, no exemptions."