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Public smoking ban fizzles

Publication Date: 2008-12-19
  • Publication:Detroit Free Press

There'll be no statewide ban on smoking in public places -- for now.

State lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a ban early this morning, leaving antismoking advocates bitterly disappointed and a new Legislature to grapple in 2009 with an issue that has wide public support.

The defeat left smoking ban proponents talking of a 2010 ballot proposal to accomplish it if lawmakers can't.

In a final, marathon lame duck session that began Thursday morning, the House and Senate could not overcome disagreements over whether to allow smoking in casinos and smoke shops.

It was a major fizzle among the passage of dozens of low-profile bills, as the Legislature wrapped up its 2007-08 session.

"It is a serious disappointment, it's another signal that Michigan doesn't quite get it, is not quite ready to step into the 21st Century," said Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale, a leading proponent for a smoking ban who acknowledged the issue was dead for this year.