Archive for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kansas House gives first-round approval to plan to extend smoking ban to state-owned casinos

March 22, 2011, 5:20 p.m. Updated March 22, 2011, 7:39 p.m.


— Kansas House members gave first-round approval on Tuesday to a bill extending the 2010 statewide smoking ban to include state-owned casinos.

Legislators said the bill would expand the state law on smoking in private businesses to cover the Dodge City casino and those approved for Wyandotte and Sumner counties.

Final House action is scheduled for today. Approval would send the bill to the Senate.

Supporters said extending the ban makes the state play by the same rules that apply to private businesses by improving the indoor air quality of the casinos, as well as businesses and other government buildings already in the law.

“This bill makes public policy more consistent,” said Rep. Kelly Meigs, a Lenexa Republican.

Much of the debate hinged on an amendment that would have effectively repealed the ban.

The amendment, defeated by a 69-51 margin, would have exempted private businesses that wanted to allow smoking and put up a conspicuous sign saying smoking was permitted.

“We passed this in this body because we love to tell people what to do,” said Rep. Clay Aurand, a Courtland Republican. “I honestly don’t care what adults do in their businesses. I don’t care if they smoke. I don’t care if they take off their clothes and dance.”

Many freshmen conservative Republicans said they were elected in November over the smoking ban and that Kansans don’t want government interfering with their rights.

“We need to get government off our backs,” said Rep. Charlotte O’Hara, an Overland Park Republican.

Defenders of the ban said it serves the greater public good.

Rep. Tom Burroughs, a Kansas City Democrat, said the cost to businesses to comply with the law is outweighed by the benefits to Kansans who aren’t exposed to smoke while at work, eating or patronizing other establishments.

“Individual freedoms stop when the freedom endangers others,” Burroughs said.

The managers of the three casinos opposed the bill when the House Committee on Health and Human Services heard testimony. Casinos argue that banning smoking will hurt their ability to make a return on their investment. The state Division of Budget estimated, based on casino projections, that the ban would reduce estimated revenues owed to the state and local governments by $16 million.


John Hamm 7 years, 1 month ago

They do that and I'm off to Misery.

Ah heck, it's not worth responding to number_1_grandma it's obvious she knows what's right for me and you and you.........

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 1 month ago

You cannot choose whether to enter a business that allows smoking? You're forced to go in that what you're telling us? Free market capitalism people vote with their dollars. Don't patronize a business that allows smoking and they might go bankrupt or change their smoking policy. I don't need the friggin' gubment to tell me how to run my business. You choose to enter the door. Like a strip club or abortion clinic; noone is forced to participate. Keep your nanny at home and out of my business.

Eddie Muñoz 7 years, 1 month ago

Of the things you mentioned, only smoking has a direct effect on the people immediately around you.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 1 month ago

Only if those people choose to stand next to me. You have a choice, unlike business owners in Kansas.

Eddie Muñoz 7 years ago

Oh, okay, I get it now. Your rights supersede mine.

Crazy_Larry 7 years ago

I never said that. I said they have a choice to either a) stand next to me and get some instant death second hand smoke, or, b) move away from the hazard.

Choice! It's a tough concept to grasp...

tabitha013 7 years, 1 month ago

They aren't saying that you do not have the right to smoke. They are saying that you do not have to right to endanger someone else's health. To those of you that point out alcohol has increased health risk factors - I agree. However, someone ingesting alcohol does not have a direct impact on the person standing next to them. To a pregnant women, being a smoker is worse than being on crack. It has more health related problems associated with numerous scenarios. Smoke puts everyone at risk for health problems - this in turn raises health care costs for all. To those who state "just don't visit those places," being smoke free was a right before smoking was even invented. Workers at those places may not have another job opportunity in this economy. It's not just about smoker's rights - it's about non-smoker's as well. One right has to be greater than the other, does it not? There is nothing about a smoker's right that outweighs any of a non-smoker's rights and are pale in comparison.
This is the first bill proposed by the new state government that does not make me cringe to live in Kansas.

BigDog 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes ..... and when the companies pull out of their $500+ million investment in the casinos in Kansas City and Wichita area ... there won't be jobs either.

Currently the casinos are the closest thing to economic development going on in this state ..... especially in this economy

jafs 7 years, 1 month ago

So you're in favor of repealing all workplace safety regulations?

After all, people can just work somewhere else.

Eddie Muñoz 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, once this goes into effect, you can follow your own advice.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 1 month ago

Unless the drunk driver slams his car into you car. In free markets, people vote with the dollar bill. We don't need your nanny telling a business how to operate when it comes to legal substances such as cigarettes. Don't like cigarette smoke? Don't enter the business! See how simple and easy that is? Doesn't take legilation either.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 1 month ago

Government and tobacco are way overboard. Not sure where, (I'd have to hunt for it) but I stumbled on an article recently about one state that has decided to back off on tobacco restrictive laws. Why? They were working too well. Fewer people were smoking and the state was taking a huge hit in loss of tax revenue, something that a lot of states can't afford right now. On the other hand, the FDA is trying to get menthol cigarettes banned. Not because they are "worse for you" or because their second hand smoke is worse on passive bystanders, but because they are apparently a lure for children and black people. (This is actually quite racist and insulting, in my opinion. As in "We have to protect the black population because they aren't smart enough to make their own decisions.") Even when smokers attempt to find alternative means to deal with their addiction, government interferes. The E-Cigarette was invented to create a smokeless cigarette that would bypass the objections that government ostensibly claimed was the reason for all of their bans and regulations. This action actually appears to have angered some sectors of government, irritating them that a solution was found to get around their regulations. Yet just last month the FAA banned e-cigarettes from all domestic American flights. The reason given was flimsy as tissue paper. The vapor from an e-cigarette looks like smoke and could lead people to light up thinking it was ok or permitted. This is despite the fact that notices, signs, banners and flashing lights are everywhere with the words "No Smoking" and the international symbol of the cigarette with a strike through is plastered every ten feet on the plane and off. There was no discussion or argument permitted. It was one and done. The FDA was furious when Federal courts struck down an attempted ban on e-cigarettes by that agency. The courts told the agency that it wasn't in the purview of their jurisdiction as long as they weren't marketed as "smoking cessation devices" (which is highly ironic, considering that e-cigarettes actually deliver less nicotine than the dermal patches). The real truth is, certain sectors of government want to ban nicotine no matter how it's delivered. They can't do that so, like abortion, they will create "nuisance" regulations to restrict it to the point that they can.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 1 month ago

"Individual freedoms stop when the freedom endangers others," Burroughs said.

What an ingenious idea!

somedude20 7 years, 1 month ago

With all of the things going on in the world, this is the hot topic? Get a life people!!! Go cry for elizabeth taylor or something

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