Lawmakers commended for not doing anything

Published 12:30 am Monday, December 22, 2008

By Staff
Dec. 19 the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) and the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) commended Michigan lawmakers for "protecting the economic viability of small businesses across the state by not taking up a statewide smoking ban – House Bill 4163."
House Bill 4163 – which would ban smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars – was struck down early Friday morning when conference committee members could not reach agreement on the ban.
House Bill 4163 will now die and a new bill will have to be reintroduced in 2009 for the issue to be taken up by the Legislature.
"Lawmakers decided to leave a present under the tree for every small business in Michigan this year," said Lance Binoniemi, MLBA executive director. "I want to thank conference committee members Sen Alan Cropsey, Sen. Alan Sanborn and Rep. Dave Hildenbrand for standing their ground to protect our state's business climate and saving thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses across Michigan from going up in smoke."
More than 5,000 businesses in Michigan's hospitality industry have already made the decision to go smoke-free. Michigan's hospitality industry is Michigan's second-largest employer, providing thousands of food-service careers and millions of dollars in payroll and business taxes to the state.
"This debate was long and difficult and I commend our lawmakers for their efforts to make the right decision on such a complex issue," said Todd Anderson, vice president, government relations, for SBAM.
"Those small businesses that are already teetering on the edge of economic security can now rest easy knowing lawmakers have helped them remain competitive."
Similarly, it took the executive branch to throw Detroit a lifeline.
An automotive bailout passed the House only to die in the Senate, so President George W. Bush authorized $17 billion to keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat at least until he leaves office so if they ultimately fail it will be on someone else's watch.
This is what we're down to. Our do-nothing lawmakers are so irrelevant to our lives that their main accomplishment is to strangle the life out of an issue through gridlock rather than resolution.
Bush spared Congress the immediate consequences of its inaction.
Lansing made a good argument for a part-time Legislature.