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Thu December 3, 2009
Smoking ban debate reignited
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
The debate over a workplace smoking ban is being revisited at the state Capitol. Republicans in the state Senate met privately Thursday to discuss the issue.
Lawmakers could vote on the workplace smoking ban as early as next week. But the Republican-led Senate and Democrat-led House may still be at odds over whether there should be a complete ban, or if there should be exemptions for Detroit casinos, cigar bars and tobacco shops. The Senate approved a complete ban this time last year, but that was largely a move to call the bluff of Democrats in the House, where the bill failed.
State Representative Bert Johnson sponsored a smoking ban bill. He says there is pressure to approve a ban this time around, and not just play political games.
"And the citizens across the state are absolutely depending on us to do the right thing. Not on just the smoking issue, but on every issue," he says.
Johnson is from Detroit and still wants exemptions made for the casinos. But he says lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are ready make compromises in order to get a ban passed.