Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Smoking Ban Gains Momentum

Today, the Virginia Senate passed three different bills to ban smoking in public, each at a different level of restriction.

A complete workplace ban passed 23-15-1. A Restaurant only ban passed 28-10-1. And a local option ban passed 29-9-1. These numbers suggest serious momentum and are surprisingly in line with the opinion of the electorate. Recent polling suggests that 75% of Virginian’s want some type of smoking ban. Kudos to the State Senate for siding with the vast majority of voters. What’s even more impressive is the bi-partisan vote. I’ve been saying for years that this was not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is a public health issue that the voters want addressed.

One particular vote caught my eye. Democrat Senator and Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds voted against the ban. Deeds has a spotty record on this issue, having voted against it, then voting for it and now back to voting against it. My guess is the hospitality industry, which has been equally fickle, put some pressure on him. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that opposing the ban is not a smart political position for someone running statewide in 2009. The ban is supported by the majority of Republicans and the overwhelming majority of Democrats. This could be Deeds' Achilles’ heel.


Valerie said...

I hope you don't mind this Democrat visiting your website. Just now watching Politically Speaking on Cox Ch 9 Del. Onzlee Ware suggested that with the budget shortfall localities need to implement a local tax to support Arts and Culture. What do you think?

In my opinion that would just about be the last straw to have me move out of the City. I believe in holding the Dems feet to the fire and am one to let them know.

Heck, I might just be turning alittle purple these days.

Valerie said...

Well, Morgan Griffin just said taxing Roanoke City only would not be fair ... phew, God bless him on this one!

The Green Miles said...

Brandon, we miss you in the Senate on this issue! Glad to see the such strong votes in support of clean air this year. What do you think of prospects in the House?

Brandon Bell said...


I agree with Morgan on this one you can't lay the responsibility of funding arts and culture solely on the locality where the are located. Actually I had legislation a couple of years ago that would have put in place a statewide organization WITH a funding mechanism to take these organizations out of the ups and downs of state funding. It also would have taked the "politics" out of who got money and put that in the hands of an appointed board of truely qualified people not elected officials.

The Green Miles,

No hope at all at this time. All bills are slated to meet the fate of last year. No vote in sub committee. I believe a blood oath has been taken. I have contacted a couple of legislators to try and encourage a compromise bill but for now I have zero expectation it will be successful.

NotTrixieA said...

I have heard that the Republican Caucus has taken a position not to let any of the 8 smoking bills be heard even in full committee. It will be interesting to see whether or not this is true and whether or not any of the House Subcommittee members will be allowed to vote for any of these bills.

Rogers Susan said...

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) causes disease in non-smokers. Workplace bans on smoking are interventions to reduce exposure to ETS to try to prevent harmful health effects. The Irish Government on the 29th March 2004 introduced the first national comprehensive legislation banning smoking in all workplaces including bars and restaurants. http://www.chantixhome.com/