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Mar. 27th, 2003 | 03:17 pm

THIS is fucking bullshit...

Talk about taking away stuff... What the fuck is the point of going to a bar? I'm not going to drink if I can't smoke too...



New York State Adopts Strict Ban on Workplace Smoking

By WINNIE HU



ALBANY, March 26 — After two years of legislative gridlock, New York today became only the third state to pass a tough antismoking law that would ban smoking in nearly every restaurant, bar and workplace.

The Legislature moved exceptionally quickly to pass the measure, overcoming fierce opposition from some Republican members and a heavy lobbying campaign by the tobacco, liquor and restaurant industries, which derailed a similar effort less than a year ago.

Hours later, Gov. George E. Pataki signed the bill into law, clearing the way for the smoking ban to take effect in 120 days. But Lisa Dewald Stoll, the governor's press secretary, said that Mr. Pataki remained concerned about what he saw as inconsistencies in the new ban, including how it would affect local antismoking measures. He urged legislators to address those concerns.

"While he has reservations about the bill, he has signed the bill because he believes a statewide ban on smoking in the workplace will lead to a healthier New York and reduce the cost of health care," Ms. Stoll said.

In the last year, New York City and at least five counties — Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Orange and Dutchess — have passed similar legislation. The state ban would apply to localities that either do not have any antismoking laws, or that have less restrictive ones. In cases in which the localities have stronger laws, like Westchester and Nassau, those laws would not be pre-empted.

The state smoking ban comes just four days before New York City begins enforcing its own smoking ban, and will pre-empt sections of it. For instance, the state ban limits special tobacco-promotion events at restaurants and bars to two nights a year, instead of the five allowed under the city ban.

In addition, the state law will close several exemptions that were added at the last minute by the City Council. Smoking will no longer be allowed at establishments personally operated by their owners, and bars and nightclubs will no longer have the option of building specially ventilated rooms that can be used for up to three years.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who initially proposed the city ban without those exemptions, has told state legislators that he supports the state ban. Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for the mayor, said that Mr. Bloomberg "is very pleased that the state is ensuring that all New Yorkers work in a safe environment."

News of the state smoking ban was greeted mostly with a shrug by some advocates for restaurant and bar owners, who saw it as only slightly more onerous than the city ban.

E. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of the Greater New York City Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, said that as a practical matter, the city exemptions had applied to few places because of the restrictions attached to them.

But Steven Salvesen, an architect with R.I.P. Construction Consultants, said that six of his clients had started adding smoking rooms to their businesses, including some that had invested $15,000 to $20,000. Mr. Salvesen said he did not think they could recoup their money.

The Legislature took up the antismoking legislation again after coming close to passing a weaker version last year that would have banned smoking in restaurants, but not in bars. The Democratic-led Assembly passed the measure, but under heavy pressure from Governor Pataki and tobacco, liquor and restaurant interests, Senate Republican leaders never allowed it to come to a vote.

But this year, it was the Senate Republican leaders who took the lead on the issue. After nearly a week of intense closed-door negotiations, the Senate passed the sweeping smoking bill by a vote of 57 to 4, with not a single Republican voting against it.

The Assembly also overwhelmingly passed the bill, 97 to 44, after more than three hours of heated debate.

But this show of bipartisan unity came only after Senate and Assembly leaders spent the last few days pressing reluctant members to support the ban, saying that the public health benefits outweighed the economic blow to small businesses in their individual districts.

"This is probably the most important piece of legislation that the Legislature has passed in years," the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, said today immediately after the vote. "When you're talking about the quality of life here, and people's health and welfare and safety, I don't think there's anything more important."

Until the final count, however, lobbyists on both sides of the issue were furiously trying to make their case. Dozens of them staked out the hallways outside the two chambers, waiting for the chance to corner a legislator or two. Others tirelessly made the rounds of Albany's fund-raisers the night before, refusing to declare victory or concede defeat.

"It's been the most intensely lobbied issue so far this year because the stakes have been so high for both sides," said Steve Weingarten, a lobbyist for several medical groups, including the American Cancer Society.

Under the state ban, smoking will be restricted to a handful of indoor sites like private hotel rooms, cigar bars and membership clubs with no paid employees. California and Delaware have enacted similar legislation, and four other states — Florida, Maine, Utah and Vermont — have banned smoking in restaurants, but not in bars.

But for years, cities and local governments across the country have adopted increasingly strict smoking bans. Timothy Filler, associate director for Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a nonprofit advocacy group in Berkeley, Calif., said that 93 municipalities had banned smoking in restaurants and bars — including Boston; Helena, Mont.; El Paso; and Tempe, Ariz.; in the last two years.

In addition, he said, more than 1,600 municipalities have adopted some variation of an antismoking law, ranging from ones that allow restaurants to have separate smoking areas to others that ban smoking only in government buildings.

"This is not a novel idea, but it is a very important step toward protecting all workers," he said. "And it is an idea whose time has come."


Yeah, ok.. now lets cut the god damned taxes... you take enough from us....

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Comments {5}

james

(no subject)

from: fgcusabre
date: Mar. 27th, 2003 12:41 pm (UTC)
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I know thats sad. I dont think bars should be banned. Bars I think should be OK. But if they serve more food than alcohol...I do not think you should be able to smoke.

Not a total ban...but thats me.

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Beth

(no subject)

from: happydaysfan
date: Mar. 27th, 2003 02:41 pm (UTC)
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personally I like the idea, I hate smoking, the smell is gross I cant stand being around the smoke and its nice to go ut and not have to be around it. Luckily here in California you cant smoke anywhere except outside.
Now, I can see the view of one who smokes that this is unfair so i'm not trying to be all holier than thou-just saying in My opinion it's a good idea(but this is coming from a non smoker)

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Nina

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from: asharose
date: Mar. 27th, 2003 05:17 pm (UTC)
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We have a ban on smoking in public places here in Ontario. Personally, I really hate the smell of smoke. Before when I went out to restaurants/clubs/bars, I'd always come home reeking of smoke. Now it's actually quite pleasant to go out, as I always return home still smell like flowers! ;D

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Dawn

(no subject)

from: crackofdawn
date: Mar. 27th, 2003 05:55 pm (UTC)
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I know what you mean. My city is instituting a ban on smoking on May 1st. No smoking in public places or even (this is the worst bit) in coffee shop patios. It makes me very angry. I think, if a bar owner wants to have smoking in his bar, then he has every right to do so, and if a non-smoker doesn't want to smell smoke, they don't have to go to bars with smoking in it. Arg. Me cranky :)

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(no subject)

from: sasssyx
date: Mar. 27th, 2003 11:00 pm (UTC)
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there's not really any indoor public place that you can smoke in, in CA. no restaurants, no stores, nowhere.

SOME bars allow it... but a rare few, and illegally.

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