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Smoking debate rises from ashes

Publication Date: 12/7/2009
  • Author:CHRIS CHRISTOFF
  • Publication:Detroit Free Press

Senate must decide whether to exempt Detroit casinos

It could be light up or lights out for a statewide smoking ban this week in the Legislature.

Senate Republicans will take another stab at prohibiting smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. But whether to exempt Detroit's casinos remains a key question.

"It's time to get it moving," said Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, who is prodding fellow Senate Republicans with a compromise.

That plan would ban smoking in all public places, but possibly allow it to some extent at the Detroit casino on gaming floors, as well as in cigar bars. Smoking would be banned at the Detroit casino restaurants and hotels, possibly answering concerns of bar owners about giving a competitive advantage to the casinos.

Jelinek and others said with only a couple of weeks before a long holiday break, the Legislature is under pressure to act on an issue that's been in stalemate for more than a decade.