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Senate has not yet taken action on smoking ban bill

Publication Date: 11/18/2009
  • Author:Marissa Cumbers
  • Publication:(East Lansing, MI) State News

The smoke still has not cleared between the Michigan House and Senate on whether state residents should be allowed to enjoy cigarettes while dining.

It has been six months since the Michigan House passed a statewide smoking ban for public places, such as restaurants and bars, and the Senate still has not picked up the bill, which exempts casinos and cigar bars. Some representatives still are pushing for the Senate to take action on the bill, but experts said disagreement between the two houses could mean the Senate might not pick it up at all.

"Having just finished up the budget process, we are looking at our agenda for the upcoming year and we haven’t had any discussion of how we will address the smoking ban," said Matt Marsden, spokesman for Sen. Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

The Senate passed a smoking ban with no exemptions in 2008, but the House never picked up that bill, he said.

"If there is going to be a smoking ban, we don't believe there should be carve-outs for certain establishments," Marsden said.

But exempting casinos and cigar bars would create a "middle ground,"and 99 percent of public establishments still would be smoke free without negatively impacting the casinos of Detroit, said state Rep. Lee Gonzales, D-Flint.