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Wed May 20, 2009
State House committee passes smoking ban legislation
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
Lansing, MI – A state House committee has approved legislation that would ban smoking in most workplaces. The legislation would exempt casinos, cigar bars and tobacco shops. The committee wrapped up a few months of testimony by voting for the three smoking ban bills.
Committee chair Bert Johnson says passing the legislation is bittersweet. He says it's time for Michigan to catch up with the majority of states by having a ban in place, but he'd like to see a few more exemptions made for small businesses.
Johnson plans to introduce an amendment that would allow for bars and restaurants that only serve customers aged 21 and up to continue to have smoking indoors. "You're talking about a handful of businesses across the state that in my estimation deserve preservation," he says. "And I don't want to put these folks out of business. I don't want to contribute to more unemployment."
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says he won't support a smoking ban that has any exemptions.
Democrats from the Senate say they think they have votes to pass any smoking ban.