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Mass: Smoking ban hits a snag
MetroWest ^ | February 18, 2004 | Michael Kunzelman

Posted on 02/18/2004 7:53:00 AM PST by SheLion

BOSTON -- The push for a statewide smoking ban hit a snag in the state Legislature yesterday when a senator successfully blocked the formation of a committee charged with drafting a compromise version of the legislation.

Late last year, the Senate and House of Representatives both passed slightly different versions of a statewide ban on smoking in the workplace.

Last week, House leaders appointed several state representatives who will meet behind closed doors with their Senate counterparts to hash out the differences between the two bills.

The Senate was poised to name three senators to serve on that "conference committee" yesterday, until state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, objected to the move. Because the motion was made in an informal session, instead of a formal session, a single senator's objection was enough to block the move.

Tarr, who had voted in favor of the ban last year, did not return a telephone call seeking comment yesterday.

However, state Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, attributed the "parliamentary maneuver" to Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees, an outspoken critic of the bill.

"The real culprit is Sen. Lees," said Moore, one of three senators who would serve on the conference committee. "He has used every possible opportunity to delay consideration of this bill."

Moore, Senate chairman of the Health Care Committee, said the Senate could approve the creation of the committee during its next formal session, a week from tomorrow.

The House approved the ban by a vote of 126 to 25 in October. The Senate approved its version about a month later. Both bills would ban smoking in virtually all public buildings, including restaurants and bars as of July 5, 2004.

Smoking would be permitted, however, in private clubs, certain areas of nursing homes, hotels and motels, "smoking bars" and retail tobacco stores. Religious ceremonies and performers in theatrical productions also would be exempt from the ban.

Violating the ban would be punishable by a $100 fine for a first offense, $200 for second offense and $300 for a third or subsequent offense.

More than 90 cities and towns, including Boston and Framingham, already have banned smoking in the workplace.

Meanwhile, a total of 217 of the state's 351 cities and towns have passed local measures either banning or restricting smoking in bars and restaurants. Moore and state Rep. Peter Koutoujian, a Waltham Democrat who serves as House chairman of the Health Care Committee, both said the two bills are virtually identical.

"Nothing substantive. It's mostly semantics," Koutoujian said. Moore said the conference committee, which also would include state Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, state Rep. Rachel Kaprielian, D-Watertown, and a Republican member of both the House and Senate, should be able to complete its work in a single day.

"I don't think there's anything to hold us up," he said. Koutoujian and Moore hope the compromise bill will reach the floors of the House and Senate by late March. "It's certainly historic for Massachusetts, but (many) (He calls "5 states" MANY?!) other states already have done this," Koutoujian said. "I think this state is ready for it."


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Culture/Society; Government; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: addiction; andscorpions; antismokers; bans; butts; cigarettes; individualliberty; lawmakers; maine; niconazis; professional; prohibitionists; pufflist; smokingbans; stench; stinkyaddicts; taxes; tobacco
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1 posted on 02/18/2004 7:53:01 AM PST by SheLion
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To: *puff_list; Just another Joe; Great Dane; Max McGarrity; Madame Dufarge; MeeknMing; steve50; ...

2 posted on 02/18/2004 7:53:39 AM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
Good for Senator Lees.
3 posted on 02/18/2004 7:56:42 AM PST by Gabz (Smoke gnatzies: small minds buzzing in your business - SWAT'EM)
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To: Gabz
Good for Senator Lees.

I know it! One fly in the anti's ointment. LOL!

4 posted on 02/18/2004 8:03:44 AM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
The new state slogan: "Marxistchusetts. Some butts are not okay."
5 posted on 02/18/2004 8:06:02 AM PST by sergeantdave (Gen. Custer wore an Arrowsmith shirt to his last property owner convention.)
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To: SheLion
Smoking would be permitted, however, in private clubs, certain areas of nursing homes, hotels and motels, "smoking bars" and retail tobacco stores. Religious ceremonies and performers in theatrical productions also would be exempt from the ban.

Smoking bars!

Sounds promising, how to find one?
6 posted on 02/18/2004 8:07:12 AM PST by A. Pole (The genocide of Albanians was stopped in its tracks before it began.)
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To: A. Pole
Sounds promising, how to find one?

That's what "I" was wondering. What's a difference between a "private club," and a "smoking bar?" No food??? I don't understand the spin "they" are putting on this.

Where ARE the smoking bars???

7 posted on 02/18/2004 8:15:30 AM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
and performers in theatrical productions also would be exempt from the ban

This is an interesting exception. I wonder how they define "theatrical productions".

8 posted on 02/18/2004 8:19:24 AM PST by Grit (http://www.NRSC.org)
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To: Grit
LOL! I envision an audience-participation play every evening: "And They All Smoked Until Dawn."
9 posted on 02/18/2004 8:22:20 AM PST by freedomcrusader (Proudly wearing the politically incorrect label "crusader" since 1/29/2001)
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To: SheLion
This push for smoking bans in the work place is so stupid. Most of them have them already. They act like people are too stupid to know when its too dangerous to smoke and nobody hardly ever lights up inside anymore. The place where I work, we make plastic parts which are cooked in huge ovens. It smells like burning tires. And toxic smoke belches out of these ovens all day in my face and they would try to tell me cigarette smoke is too dangerous in my place of work!
10 posted on 02/18/2004 8:22:24 AM PST by beckysueb (Lady Liberty is in danger! Bush/Cheney 04.)
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To: freedomcrusader
LOL! I envision an audience-participation play every evening: "And They All Smoked Until Dawn."

Exactly what I was thinking. Now to get the ACLU to defend our little piece of "performance art". Not to mention Federal Funding from the NEA.

11 posted on 02/18/2004 8:25:32 AM PST by Grit (http://www.NRSC.org)
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To: SheLion

Why do Liberals have such disdain for property rights? 
 
If I want to open a restaurant where every last person in there must be in posseision of a lit cigarette at all times and have a rabid screamer monkey on their shoulder, that's my right.  Oh, I'll probably go out of business, but it's my choice and it shouldn't have to pass P.C. muster with some idiot liberal.
 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

12 posted on 02/18/2004 8:26:49 AM PST by South Hawthorne (“Before going out drinking, always tape a handcuff key to the inside of your watch band.”)
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To: sergeantdave
How about, "Massachusetts: No butts, plenty of a$$holes."
13 posted on 02/18/2004 8:38:26 AM PST by tdadams
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To: SheLion
Private property be damned! Let's just take the leap to socialism now!
14 posted on 02/18/2004 9:04:22 AM PST by CSM (My Senator is so stupid he'd have to get naked to count to 21 and my Governor wouldn't be able to!)
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To: tdadams
You,ve got that right,a state full of loonies.

Yesterday's Globe also had an article on how they are going after people who avoid cig taxes by using the internet.They are actually going to the delivery companies for lists of their customers.This state is getting as bad as the Soviet Union.

Gays will be able to get married in May,but God help the poor smoker who wants to go out for an evening and smoke in a restaurant where the owner allows it.
15 posted on 02/18/2004 9:04:56 AM PST by Mears
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To: Mears
Yesterday's Globe also had an article on how they are going after people who avoid cig taxes by using the internet.

It's not just the state of Massachusetts. There is federal legislation under consideration right now that would ban any kind of cigarette purchases by mail order.

16 posted on 02/18/2004 9:18:01 AM PST by tdadams
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To: SheLion
Simple. Smoking will be allowed as long as you get a permit from the state. More revenue for the tyrants.

Carolyn

17 posted on 02/18/2004 9:31:40 AM PST by CDHart
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To: CDHart
Simple. Smoking will be allowed as long as you get a permit from the state. More revenue for the tyrants.

This has gotten WAY out of hand!

18 posted on 02/18/2004 9:37:25 AM PST by SheLion (Curiosity killed the cat BUT satisfaction brought her back!!!)
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To: SheLion
"This has gotten WAY out of hand!"

Yes, it has. And there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it. As Claire Wolfe says, "It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the b#$%^&*s."

Carolyn

19 posted on 02/18/2004 9:53:20 AM PST by CDHart
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To: SheLion
"Smoke 'em if you got 'em" bump!
20 posted on 02/18/2004 9:58:13 AM PST by talleyman (Caviar emptor (a warning from the sturgeon general))
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