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Detroit casinos tie up smoking ban in state House

Publication Date: 2008-09-24
  • Author:Peter Luke
  • Publication:Michigan Live

An indoor smoking ban in Michigan bars, restaurants and other workplaces could have a tough time becoming law absent an exemption for Detroit's three commercial casinos.

A prohibition on all indoor workplace smoking failed Tuesday to gather the 56 House votes necessary to send it to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who would sign it into law.

Another vote on the measure, which would take effect around April 1, 2009, may be delayed until after the November election. Granholm said Tuesday she would endorse any smoking ban that hits her desk.

Tuesday's 50-49 vote to make Michigan the 35th state to bar workplace smoking fell short after Detroit Democrats failed to support the measure.

On one side of the issue is a consortium of health advocacy groups that have been pressing for a smoking ban in Michigan for years.

Katherine Knoll of the American Heart Association said the ban has broad public support expressed both in polls and in calls to legislative offices.

"Does the grassroots win the day here or not? That's the question," she said.

On the other side are Detroit casino owners who say they've enjoyed an uptick in business since competing casinos in Windsor were required by Ontario law to go smoke-free a couple years ago.