Legislation that would roll back a provision of Michigan’s restaurant smoking ban to allow smokers to light up while dining at sidewalk cafés or patios outside of restaurants has gained bipartisan support, Bill Laitner reports in the Free Press.
Besides 10 Republicans, the bill has Democrats from Roseville and Taylor as cosponsors, even though most western governments at any level are going evenn farther to outlaw smoking, banning it in some cases from city parks.
But an Oak Park man who campaigned for decades to make Michigan’s restaurants smoke-free predicted the bill would flop. And the head of the Royal Oak Restaurant Association said she preferred to keep her establishment 100% smoke-free, indoors and out, even though she used to smoke and originally opposed the ban on smoking in restaurants that passed in 2009.
Keeping the ban on smoking at outdoor cafés makes no sense, he said. The bill, whose chief sponsor is Rep. Tom McMillin, a Rochester Hills Republican, defines an outdoor restaurant area as one that is “less than 50% enclosed.”
Restaurants would have the discretion, under the legislation, to choose whether to allow smoking in outdoor areas.
McMillin, who introduced the bill in mid-November, said he’s a nonsmoker, but opposes the ban on smoking at restaurants because he thinks it infringes on civil liberties.