As expected, the House General Laws Subcommittee defeated all 8 House bills that would have regulated smoking in public. I am not surprised by the vote. But I am dismayed that House members, including Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, can be so confident in their position of political power, that they would continue to ignore the views of the vast majority of Virginian’s on this issue.
At the very least, this issue should come before the entire General Laws Committee. It is outrageous and a disservice to the citizens of this Commonwealth to prevent a fair hearing of these bills. But the voters may have the last laugh. They want this legislation and they will eventually elect legislators that will give it to them. That’s the beauty of our system.
Not only did the Subcommittee block the bills from a full hearing, the Chairman didn’t even play fair. Each side was given 30 minutes to speak. The tobacco lobby got their full 30 minutes. But the Smoke-Free coalition had half that time. The time used by the bill patrons to present was counted against the Smoke-Free coalition. This is absolutely unheard of. Patrons have to present their bills. Then you let the various individuals and groups speak for or against. This is the same type of dirty tricks used by Dickie Cranwell and the Democrats for years. And it was part of the reason they lost their Majority. The voters get tired of this stuff.
I’ve also gotten wind that Majority Leader Griffith is telling his colleagues in the House Republican Caucus that I lost my primary fight because of my support of Smoke-Free legislation. The subtle message is, you better vote against this, or you’ll be the next one to lose in a primary. He knows full well this is absolutely not true. This issue is supported by the majority of Republicans! In his attempt to keep his Indians in line, Griffith should be worried about how tight those wagons are circled. For him and our GOP House Majority, I hope this isn’t a last stand.