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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Op/Ed-Michigan's GOP want to change no smoking ban rules to benefit their financial supporters

ROJS News Op/Ed

This is a story about the fact that two short years ago, when sanity was in our Michigan State Executive and Legislative Branches (yes, this was before Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, Speaker of the State House Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville rule was cast without checks and balances in our Elected Governmental Offices) smoking in enclosed workplaces was forbidden.

That was until the GOP came riding into town with their expensive cigars and cigarettes in tow.

In the smoking rooms of country clubs, taking a puff to talk finance, business or favors for friends might be allowed, and encouraged as a rite of passage. These normally wealthly individuals pay for their on health care and thus, can easily afford the higher premium costs associated with choosing to smoke where-ever and whenever they like.

Our Michigan Capital Building, its grounds, Beautiful Rotunda, the well maintain landscape actually belongs to the people of our Michigan along with technically, who works within these buildings and associated property. With such, Michigan's GOP have made cuts after devastating cuts to working, middle and lower classes Michiganders access to health care.

For instance, Gov. Snyder by the will of his mighty pen, demanded State Workers pay 20% of their health care costs all while insisting departments 'streamline' finances by laying off employees, of course.

As we would assume Gov. Snyder would say, "Our health care costs are rising, thus State Workers must pay more for 'shared sacrifice' purposes' and all. Plus, all Michigan workers must abide by the law of not smoking bars and restaurants in enclosed work spaces, right? So we wonder what's our Governor thoughts are on this....

From the Michigan Senate Democrats Blog April 28th:

Michigan’s workplace smoking ban has been in effect for less than 2 years, but that isn’t stopping our Republican Senators from trying to undermine it already. 
This past week, while debating the budget for the Department of Community Health, Republican Senator Howard Walker (R – Traverse City) added an amendment that would prohibit the department from enforcing the state’s smoking ban during certain kinds of fundraisers.  Not just any fundraiser though, Sen. Walker added this amendment to allow smoking at a fundraiser in his own district so that he and his political friends could sit around smoking cigars while you, me and everyone else in Michigan follows the law.
Certainly, a 1-year state department budget seems like an inappropriate place to be making changes to statewide law like this, but it also signals the Republicans’ willingness to change the rules if and when it benefits themselves.  They did it when they didn’t like Oakland County’s district boundaries and even changed the rules of their own presidential primary when they didn’t like the outcome.
What’s even more disappointing is that by carving out this exemption to Michigan’s smoking law, Republicans are opening the floodgates to further erosion of this law that is by all accounts working to both keep Michigan workers healthier and increase business at Michigan’s bars and restaurants. 
Wonder should we as Michiganders start a petition drive banning any state Legislative Official, including our Governor Rick Snyder, who seeks to defy state law to 'change the rules' for their 'fundraising friends' on Michigan's work-space smoking ban. Also, let's make sure they immediately pay the full costs (like 100%) if their state-funded health care plans, supported via OUR TAX DOLLARS, now.

Michiganders must pay more, the GOP State Leadership say. We must have 'shared sacrifice' our Republican Gov. Rick Snyder declares. So, let the people speak by a petition drive, and vote to follow that we'll not pay for your health care if state legislators seek to run under and over State law, instead of attiring to it.

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