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Support Building for State to ‘Butt Out’ of Outdoor Restaurants’ Smoking Policies

A state representative has gathered 12 co-sponsors in his effort to rescind the ban on smoking at outdoor restaurant patios and sidewalk cafés. What do you think?

Legislation introduced in November would roll back Legislation introduced in mid-November would roll back a provision of Michigan's restaurant smoking ban pertaining to sidewalk cafés or patios outside of restaurants. Patch file photo
Legislation introduced in November would roll back Legislation introduced in mid-November would roll back a provision of Michigan's restaurant smoking ban pertaining to sidewalk cafés or patios outside of restaurants. Patch file photo

Smokers may be able to light up on outdoor restaurant patios and sidewalk cafés if a bipartisan group of legislators have their say.

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, to repeal the provision of Michigan’s restaurant smoking ban that pertains to restaurants’ outdoor facilities, the Detroit Free Press reports.

McMillin, who plans to run for the state Senate, said he’s heard from a number of bar and restaurant owners who regard the ban “as blatant over-regulation and usurping the rights of business owners to make their own rules on their own property.”

Joining McMillin as co-sponsors are Republicans Jeff Farrington, Dale W. Zorn, Bill Rogers, Frank Foster, Pat Somerville,Dan Lauwers, Kevin Daley, Bruce R. Rendon, Ed McBroom and Ken Goike, and Democrats Harold L. Haugh and Douglas A. Geiss.

The proposal would apply to outdoor facilities that are less than 50 percent enclosed and, if approved, would give restaurants the discretion to their patrons to light up.

DISCUSS: Do you support rescinding the portion of Michigan’s Smoke-Free Air Law that applies to outdoor restaurant patios and sidewalk cafés? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

McMillin and his supporters are joined by Rod Lockwood, the wealthy developer from Birmingham who gained notoriety early last year when he proposed buying Belle Island for 41 billion and turning it into a separate state with no taxes, reportedly said that the ban burdens small business owners with excessive regulations.

The proposed legislation has left supporters of the Michigan Smoke-Free Air Law, which passed in 2009, fuming.

Marx Cooper, 82, of Oak Park said Michiganders have grown accustomed to cleaner air at restaurants and will work to snuff out talk of rescinding the ban, which would apply to outdoor facilities that are less than 50 percent enclosed.

He worked at no pay as executive director of Michigan Citizens for Smoke-Free Air, which lobbied extensively for the ban.

A Royal Oak restaurateur and former smoker who originally opposed the ban said she wants to keep her restaurant, which includes two patios with a total capacity for 46 diners, to remain smoke free.

“I’m really over the days of the dirty ashtray,” said Carrie O’Neill, who owns Rock on Third in Royal Oak and is president of the Royal Oak Restaurant Association. “Even though this would be outside, still, for the nonsmoker, they’d be smelling it.”

O’Neill, a former smoker, said she’s sure her

McMillin will gather supporters at the Godfather Cigar & Martini Lounge in Rochester Wednesday to talk about the proposed legislation and raise money for his Senate campaign.

Jackie Sweeney December 03, 2013 at 10:45 AM
NO! I do NOT support the ban on smoking outside of restaurants and outdoor cafe's. It's one thing to ban smoking INside restaurants, I understand that, but OUTside, where the air will carry away any so called second hand smoke is ridiculous! One does not have to patronize establishments that allow this! I would require a LOT more proof and evidence that outdoor smoke is in any way harmful to one's health! Especially when you consider what is already in the air due to all of the factories up and down the Detroit River!

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