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Author Topic: "Ridiculous" Washington smoking ban may be scaled back  (Read 620 times)


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"Ridiculous" Washington smoking ban may be scaled back
« on: September 28, 2006, 11:19 PM NHFT »

A Draconian smoking ban enacted in Washington state last year, which not only prohibits smoking inside buildings but within 25 feet of building entrances, has devastated restaurants and nightclubs, and led for some state legislators to call for the ban to be scaled back.

But under state law, the ban, which was passed by ballot initiative last November, requires a two-thirds majority in the state legislature to amend the act during the first two years, so legislators are pessimistic about how far the ban can be scaled back.

"My business is down 30 percent," says Rimrock [Steakhouse] owner Connie Dunn. "I cannot survive."

Meanwhile, smoking ban advocates claim that the ban is a success.

"That's bullshit," says Dunn, who recently put her Lake City institution up for sale. "That is total bullshit."

Enter Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle. Both are nonsmokers and powerful members of the state Legislature -- and both say that the Clean Indoor Air Act, as the ban is officially known, has screwed up business and civic life so badly that they favor changing the law.

"I think there's room to amend the new law," Kohl-Welles says.

It will come too late for Dunn -- ditto some local bartenders who've seen their tip income plummet hundreds of dollars a month. Dunn says she's had to close her restaurant during the day and already has lost three employees, who saw their tips go from $90 to $10 a shift. -- Seattle Weekly

The usual suspects all supported the smoking ban, and still do, claiming they're "protecting" people . . . from themselves.

"Everyone thought they were protecting employees, but no one asked the employees," bartender Aaron Marshall told the Seattle Weekly.

If that were so, why have narcs been going around looking for smokers less than 25 feet from a building and issuing citations to the bar they happened to be standing too close to?

The legislators said it was likely they would only be able to achieve the two-thirds supermajority for an exemption for religious purposes, but they would try to eliminate the 25-foot rule and the prohibition on smoking in bars, private clubs, and cigar lounges. After two years, an amendment would require only a simple majority, which would be much more likely to pass.

Who would have ever thought that a smoking ban on businesses which cater to smokers would have had such a negative impact on those businesses? And who would have thought that the employees who were supposed to be "protected" by the smoking ban would be such ungrateful bastards? So what if you lose your money, your job, your business that you worked for years to build. At least you don't have to breathe any smoke while you collect unemployment!
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