April 10, 2007
TO THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES:
HOUSE BILL NO. 2422
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 2422, which would have removed the requirement for restaurants to maintain nonsmoking sections, provided that they post “smoking permitted” signs.
I offered an amendment to ban smoking in restaurants. This amendment was not accepted by the House of Delegates, though there is broad agreement that additional smoking limitations are warranted. Accordingly, I am asking my Health Commissioner to convene stakeholders to develop a proposal for next year. At the same time, I am unwilling to sign legislation that would eliminate the current requirement for a nonsmoking section.
Accordingly, I am vetoing this bill.
Current as of 2007, in the public interest
The law was passed in 1990; with some amendments later.
Virginia Group to Alleviate Smoking in Public
The Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act was passed in 1990.
workplace, agency, etc. may be
The state law presents only the bare minimum that is required.
is no legal requirement to provide a smoking area.
No one is required to provide a smoking area.
SMOKING IS TOTALLY PROHIBITED IN:
Indoor Service and Indoor Cashier Lines
This includes persons on BOTH sides of the counter or desk, employee and customer. Includes bakery, deli, salad bar, information, customer service desk, etc.
Hospital Emergency Rooms
Indoor Elevators, regardless of capacity
Polling Rooms (where you vote)
Local or District Health Departments
Public restrooms of buildings the state government owns, operates, and/or leases
Public restrooms of health care facilities (hospitals, nursing homes, boarding homes, adult homes, supervised living facilities, ambulatory medical & surgical centers)
Licensed Day Care centers not in private homes
Public School Buses
Public Schools No smoking at
time by anyone amendment passed in 2002.
NO-SMOKING Areas Are Additionally REQUIRED in:
State buildings: public and workplace areas, excepting Dept. of Corrections workplace areas
Local government buildings: public and workplace areas
Retail stores & recreational facilities (indoor stadium, arena, skating rink, video game facility, senior citizen rec. facility) 15,000 sq. ft. or more
Educational facilities (Day Care, nursery schools, public & private schools, colleges, universities, medical, law, or vocational schools)
Health care facilities (hospitals, nursing homes, boarding homes, adult homes, supervised living facilities, ambulatory medical & surgical centers)
Restaurants of 50 seats or more.
IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO SMOKE IN A NO-SMOKING AREA.
The law prohibits smoking in a No-Smoking area. If the smoker persists in smoking after being asked to stop, this is a civil violation, and a $25 penalty may be levied.
HOW DOES THE LAW DEFINE SMOKING?
The law defines smoking as "the carrying or holding of any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind, or any other lighted smoking equipment, or the lighting, inhaling, or exhaling of smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind."
POSTING OF SIGNS
Signs must be posted in ordinary public
The signs and the writing or international No Smoking symbol must be large enough to be visible at all times, not hidden by stock, etc.
A business or building that is smoke-free should post signs so indicating at the entrance. Signs posted inside serve as reminders.
If smoking is permitted in the building, signs stating "No Smoking" must be posted at all appropriate places such as elevators, checkout lines, etc. "Smoking Permitted" signs should be posted in the appropriate place.
Restaurants with no-smoking and smoking areas must display a "No-Smoking Section Available" sign at the public entrance.
There is a civil penalty of $25 for not posting the "No Smoking" signs as required by law.
EXEMPTIONS TO THE STATE LAW:
Material hoist elevators are not required to be no-smoking. (Amendment, 1991).
Tobacco warehouses, retail tobacco stores,
and tobacco manufacturing plants are not required to have no-smoking
WHAT IF SMOKING IS PERMITTED?
Any workplace, business, government agency, etc. may be smoke-free.
No one is required to have a smoking area.
If smoking is permitted, that area "shall not encompass so much of the building, structure, space, place, or area open to the general public that reasonable no-smoking areas, considering the nature of the use and the size of the building, are not provided;" and these smoking areas "shall be separate to the extent reasonably practicable from those rooms or areas entered by the public in the normal use of the particular business or institution;" and that "ventilation systems and existing physical barriers shall be used when reasonably practicable to minimize the permeation of smoke into no-smoking areas." There is no requirement to make "physical modifications or alterations to any structure."
YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WALK THROUGH SMOKE TO REACH THE NO-SMOKING AREA
The law does not require smoking areas, but the law DOES require NO SMOKING areas. See above.
WHAT ABOUT RESTAURANTS?
Any restaurant is permitted to be smoke-free.
The minimum requirements for ALL restaurants are as follows:
Smoking is prohibited in any indoor cashier line, service line (salad bar, etc.), and elevator;
NO SMOKING signs must be posted and visible.
If smoking is permitted, restaurants of 50 seats or more are also required to have no-smoking areas sufficient to meet customer demand. No-smoking and smoking areas must be so posted, and a "No-Smoking Section Available" sign posted at the public entrance. The 50 seats does NOT include bar or lounge area, or restaurant areas used only for private functions.
WHAT ABOUT ENFORCEMENT?
Any law enforcement officer may issue a summons for any violation of this law.
A few localities have local ordinances, and these specify the enforcement process, which simplifies the procedure.
Otherwise, any individual or business may call or write the local police, the state police, sheriff, county or city attorney, or the Commonwealth's attorney to report violations.
For example, someone may call the local sheriff or police to report that a particular business or government agency refuses to post the appropriate NO SMOKING signs, or permits people to smoke in the NO SMOKING area. The law enforcement officials may decide to issue a summons, or may issue a verbal warning. Free signs are available from the number on this brochure cover. If local law enforcement officials refuse to act, the citizen may call the state police.
If you see someone smoking in the NO SMOKING areas, you may wish to ask the manager or supervisor to deal with the situation. If they refuse, you may report them to any law enforcement officer.
Citizens are permitted to file a warrant through the General District Court against any business or agency which has violated the law.
HOW CAN A BUSINESS AVOID VIOLATIONS?
Businesses and government agencies are
to have the NO SMOKING signs conspicuously posted.
Free signs are available from Virginia GASP.
If an employee or customer is smoking in a no-smoking area, that is against the law, and managers could ask them to refrain from unlawful behavior, and if that behavior persists, they may call a law enforcement officer to assist. Businesses have reported reduction in litter by placing ashtrays either outside the building for smoke-free places, or only at the smoking area.
WHAT ABOUT THE WORKPLACE?
Any workplace may be smoke-free.
No one is required to provide smoking areas.
The state and local government workplaces must provide no-smoking areas in addition to elevators, service and cashier lines. Only the Department of Corrections in its workplace area is exempted from the state and local government workplace requirement. They may also be smoke-free.
The Virginia State Code in Section 40.1-51.1 states that every employee has the right to a workplace free from recognized hazards.
LOCAL ORDINANCES IN VIRGINIA
Local ordinances passed before January 1, 1990, remain intact.
the counties of:
the cities of:
These were grandfathered into the state law.
These local laws are often more
than state law.
For example, nursing homes must prohibit smoking in all areas except private rooms in some localities.
The penalty in some localities for violations is a Class 4 misdemeanor and a $100 fine.
As of 1990, all Virginia localities are prohibited from passing laws more protective than state law, but may outline enforcement and administrative procedures.
general information,followed by:
bills were introduced in the Virginia state legislature, which met
mid-January through February 24, 2007. The Veto session was April
All the House bills failed in
except for Delegate Morgan Griffith's bill which passed both the House
and the Senate. Griffith holds
considerable power in the House. The Speaker of the House, also a
powerful man, William Howell, assigned the no-smoking bills to an
unfriendly committee. A
Senate bill, sponsored by Senator Brandon Bell, passed the
Senate, but was left to die in the same House subcommittee.
bill would have expanded the protections in the current indoor clean
air act. The members of
that General Laws committee were:
Delegates Reid (Chairman), Cox, Albo, S.C. Jones,
McQuigg, Suit, Rapp, Wright, Oder, Saxman, D.W. Marshall, Gear,
Cosgrove, Abbitt, Phillips, Armstrong, Barlow, Hull, Ward, Dance,
The only bill to survive both the House
and the Senate was Delegate Morgan Griffith's bill which
would have repealed a part of the current Virginia law, removing the
that all restaurants must either be no-smoking or at a bare minimum
have a sizable no-smoking section. It only would have required
restaurants which allow smoking must post a conspicuous sign stating,
"Smoking Permitted." This bill was amended by the Governor to
make all restaurants no-smoking. The House defeated the
Governor's amendments. The Governor vetoed the bill.
Here is a
discussion from the Philip Morris/Altria meeting, April 26, 2007.
You may link to the GASP coverage of this
question was asked by Anne Morrow
Donley of Virginia GASP, USA.
Anne Morrow Donley, co-founder and president of Virginia GASP, said:
VOTES Virginia legislation may be tracked at http://legis.state.va.us/
Vote April 4, 2007 on the
governor's smoke-free restaurant amendment to M. Griffith's HB
The vote was 40 for the smoke-free restaurant amendment,
59 against it, 1 not voting.
YEAS--Alexander, Amundson, BaCote, Barlow, Brink, Bulova, Callahan, Ebbin, Eisenberg, Englin, Hamilton, Howell, A.T., Iaquinto, Joannou, Johnson, Jones, S.C., Marsden, McClellan, McEachin, McQuigg, Miller, P.J., Moran, Morgan, Oder, Plum, Poisson, Purkey, Rust, Scott, J.M., Shannon, Sickles, Spruill, Suit, Toscano, Valentine, Waddell, Ward, Watts, Welch, Wittman--40.
NAYS--Abbitt, Albo, Armstrong, Athey, Bell, Bowling, Byron, Caputo, Carrico, Cline, Cole, Cosgrove, Cox, Dance, Dudley, Fralin, Frederick, Gear, Gilbert, Griffith, Hall, Hargrove, Hogan, Hugo, Hull, Hurt, Ingram, Janis, Jones, D.C., Kilgore, Landes, Lewis, Lingamfelter, Lohr, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., May, Melvin, Miller, J.H., Nixon, Nutter, O'Bannon, Orrock, Peace, Phillips, Putney, Rapp, Reid, Saxman, Scott, E.T., Sherwood, Shuler, Tata, Tyler, Wardrup, Ware, O., Ware, R.L., Wright, Mr. Speaker (William Howell)--59.
Brief Analysis of the votes
The April 4, 2007 House vote on the governor's smoke-free restaurant amendment to HB 2422 revealed what many suspected --
Please note -- Lesson 1A in
Politics -- to get your bills passed, be a friend of the Speaker
of the House. It doesn't matter if the bill is good for Virginia
or not, just be a friend of the Speaker of the House.
Lesson 1B -- Those who wish
to follow the money may also see the Virginia
Public Access Project web site. Remember that money given by
corporations, etc. to political parties, to various PACs (Political
Action Committee), and to powerful members of the legislature, may be
re-directed to individual delegates and senators for their
campaigns. VPAP lists the tobacco industry contributions under
"Agriculture." Researchers may also wish to check for
contributions from the various Retail Merchants Associations, the
Manufacturers Associations, and anything connected with the Hospitality
or Restaurant Associations. This all forms an intricate but
effective net of dependency.
Morris, aka Altria, had stated at earlier shareholder meetings that
they were no longer involved in lobbying against smoking
restrictions. This was discussed at their
2007 shareholder meeting April 26 in New Jersey.
Speaker of the House, William J. Howell (Republican -Fredericksburg), who voted NO (to defeat the smoke-free
restaurant amendment) assigned all the no-smoking bills to the House General Laws Committee.
The Chairman of that committee, Jack Reid (Republican-Henrico) who
also voted NO assigned
all the no-smoking bills to the Gaming subcommittee. Reid
is NOT running for re-election in 2007.
The members of that subcommittee are Gear, Albo, Wright, Cosgrove, Armstrong,
and Abbitt all of whom voted NO, to defeat the no-smoking restaurant
amendment. Only ONE
no-smoking bill emerged from that subcommittee -- the bill of Morgan
Griffith (Republican -Salem), who is the Majority Leader of the House.
In fact, included in the 40
delegates who supported the governor's smoke-free restaurant amendment,
are only eight of the 22 members of the General Laws Committee:
S.C. Jones, McQuigg, Suit, Oder, Barlow, Hull, Ward, and Bulova.
Reid (Republican) is not running for re-election. The members of
the General Laws Committee currently are as follows (after the 2007
election, the Speaker will make new committee assignments):
Reid (Chairman), Cox, Albo, Jones (of Suffolk), McQuigg (Vice Chairman), Suit, Rapp, Wright, Oder, Saxman, Marshall (of Danville), Gear, Cosgrove, Abbitt, Phillips, Armstrong, Barlow, Hull, Ward, Dance, Tyler, Bulova.
February 2007 -- Virginia Senate vote on HB 2422, Griffith's bill. Senator Bell led the vote on this bad bill, giving it more courtesy than his bill was given in the House. The Griffith bill was passed 23-17, February 22, 2007. Bell told the media that he hoped that Governor Kaine would amend the bill. Some senators who normally vote for health voted for this bill, following the lead of Senator Bell.
NAYS -- Colgan, Deeds, Edwards, Hawkins, Herring, Houck, Howell, Lambert, Martin, Obenshain, O'Brien, Puller, Rerras, Ruff, Saslaw, Watkins, Williams--17.
Earlier Votes, Virginia Senate,
February 5, 2007.
Senator Brandon Bell's SB 1161, to expand the protections in the current no-smoking law. This bill passed 23--16, 1 no vote; and is now held in a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates.
YEAS--Bell, Blevins, Chichester, Colgan, Deeds, Devolites Davis, Edwards, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsh, Miller, Norment, Potts, Puckett, Puller, Quayle, Saslaw, Stolle, Ticer, Wagner, Whipple--23.
NAYS--Cuccinelli, Hanger, Houck, Lambert, Martin, McDougle, Newman, Obenshain, O'Brien, Rerras, Reynolds, Ruff, Stosch, Wampler, Watkins, Williams--16.
Virginia House of Delegates, floor vote, February 2, 2007.
Delegate Morgan Griffith's HB 2422, to eliminate the requirement that restaurants with 50 seats or more must have a sizable no-smoking section, and to require that restaurants that wish to allow smoking must post a sign stating Smoking Permitted. This bill passed 74-22, 4 no votes; and is now in the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee.
NAYS--Bell, Brink, Bulova, Dance, Dudley, Ebbin, Englin, Fralin, Hogan, Hull, Hurt, Ingram, Janis, Jones, D.C., Kilgore, Lingamfelter, Plum, Saxman, Scott, J.M., Toscano, Ware, R.L., Wright--22.
NOT VOTING--Eisenberg, Hugo, Johnson, Spruill--4.
Senate Education and Health Committee, February 15, 2007
Delegate Morgan Griffith's HB 2422 was discussed in this committee on February 15, 2007.
YEAS--Potts, Saslaw, Lambert, Lucas, Quayle, Martin, Newman, Ruff, Blevins, Rerras, Bell--11.
NAYS--Houck, Howell, Edwards--3.
My name is Anne Morrow Donley, the president and co-founder of Virginia GASP, Group to Alleviate Smoking in Public, Inc. We were the major help in getting the original law passed in 1990. My health suffered from being down here then in all the smoke, but I have come today because this bill before you would destroy much of what we worked to establish.
Delegate Morgan Griffith's bill, HB 2422, goes backwards, not forwards. We've heard it said a million times down here, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if you're going to "fix it", you shouldn't throw away the main engine and the wheels.
Delegate Griffith's bill, no matter how well intended it may be, if passed will have four major negative impacts on Virginia.
First -- it will allow increased smoking in restaurants. Indeed, it will encourage smoking in restaurants. The bill as it now stands, has eliminated the requirement that restaurants of 50 seats or more must either be completely no-smoking or at a bare minimum must have a sizable no-smoking section. The current law already encourages restaurants to be no-smoking. This bill allows all restaurants to allow smoking. The legislative intent is quite different.
Grocery stores which now operate cafes and restaurants could allow smoking throughout the stores with this legislation. Certainly the smoke would travel through the whole store. There is a fad among older teens and college students of hookah smoking, the water pipe -- and many cafes and restaurants offer this nicotine addictive service. This bill would encourage hookah smoking as well. The bill says restaurants must only post a Smoking Permitted sign if they allow smoking.
Second -- it will be a launching pad to do the same thing for all other businesses and agencies throughout Virginia. Grocery stores, hospitals, elevators, voting booths, government agencies, etc. could be the next victims.
Third -- it will endanger the ordinances of northern Virginia, Charlottesville and Albemarle, and the Tidewater area that were grandfathered into the current law in 1990. This bill threatens the continued existence of those ordinances.
Fourth -- it will allow Philip Morris to once again put economic pressure on restaurants, and other businesses that have cafes and cafeterias and restaurants within them, to allow smoking. GASP was able to show the legislators in 1990 that Philip Morris was encouraging its employees to avoid business with any company that went no-smoking. For example, Philip Morris ran an advertisement in what was then The Richmond News Leader, criticizing C&P Telephone Company (now Verizon) for going no-smoking. Now Philip Morris can say to restaurant owners, you don't have to be smoke-free, the law says you can just post a Smoking Permitted sign.
This bill is very like a swimming pool ordinance, stating that all swimming pools will be clean unless they post a Peeing Permitted sign.
Delegate Griffith's bill should be amended to re-instate the original requirement that all restaurants of 50 seats or more must at a bare minimum have a sizable no-smoking section, and to continue to protect the ordinances grandfathered into the original law, or this bill should be totally killed.
The health of the people of Virginia rests in your hands.
MEDIA ARTICLES, 2007 session, and related
articles, chronological order, most recent first
Virginian Pilot, April 4, 2007,
6:38 pm, headlined, House rejects
restaurant smoking ban, writer Larry O'Dell, Associated Press.
The measure as passed by the General Assembly now goes back to Kaine, who said he will veto it. Legislators will not have an opportunity to override the veto, which means the public smoking law adopted in 1990 will remain unchanged.
Kaine had touted the ban as way to protect restaurant customers and employees alike from the scientifically proven health hazards of secondhand smoke. The issue will not fade away, he said.
"Momentum is strongly in favor of these kinds of protections for workers and consumers," Kaine told reporters after the House vote.
Griffith's bill would require restaurants that allow smoking to post a "Smoking Permitted" sign at the entrance. However, it also would eliminate the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act's requirement that restaurants that allow smoking offer separate smoking and nonsmoking sections - a provision that Kaine called a "big step backward" in protecting public health.
Griffith claimed that Kaine's amendment was so broad that it would have the unintended consequence of banning smoking even at outdoor festivals or private events where food is prepared and served.
"He mucked up the law," Griffith said. "If we pass these amendments, it will come back to bite you in the ankle."
All 140 legislative seats are up for election in November.
Cathleen Grzesiek, chairman of a coalition of health organization and state spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, said Griffith's portrayal of the amendment as more far-reaching than a simple restaurant smoking ban "was just a smokescreeen and an attempt to confuse and scare legislators into voting against it."
Said Grzesiek: "We're disappointed 59 members of the House chose to protect big tobacco over the health of Virginians."
Richmond-based tobacco giant Philip Morris USA had lobbied against the ban. The company supports banning smoking in restaurants with an exemption for areas near the bar, spokesman Bill Phelps said.
"We believe total bans go too far because they fail to respect the comfort and choices of adults who smoke and those who don't," Phelps said. "We're glad legislators agree with this view."
The Virginia Retail Merchants Association also had opposed the ban, arguing that restaurateurs should have the right to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking.
EXCERPTS from The Roanoke Times, Roanoke,
Virginia, late afternoon April 4, 2007, headlined, Smoking ban snuffed out for this year,
writer Mason Adams.
The General Assembly had earlier this year passed a bill to dismantle requirements that restaurants maintain a nonsmoking section. However, all restaurants would then become nonsmoking unless they posted a “smoking permitted” sign at each entrance.
The bill’s sponsor, Del. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said the measure would apply market forces to restaurants and thus result in more smoke-free dining options.
However, Gov. Tim Kaine amended the bill to remove the sign exemption, which would have prohibited smoking in all restaurants in Virginia. Griffith argued the amendment would have unintended consequences. Any business that serves food, he said, would be affected, including catering, push carts and motels that had room service.... the issue’s unlikely to die soon.
The House of Delegates snuffed out the ban, rejecting it by a 59-40 vote.
The House vote sends the bill back to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in its original form. He can either sign it or veto it. Kaine said he will veto the bill.
Kaine proposed the restaurant smoking ban as an amendment to legislation passed by the General Assembly in February that would have required restaurants that allow smoking to post "smoking permitted" signs.
The sponsor of the legislation, Del. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, raised objections on the House floor to Kaine's amendment, saying it went too far and would make smoking illegal at weddings and outdoor festivals.
"Notwithstanding the good intentions of the governor, he mucked up the law," Griffith said.
House rejected the amendment, the state Senate does not need to act on
Virginian Pilot, April 1, 2007,
Dining Goes Up in Smoke, editorial writer,
from The Denver Channel, Colorado, March 15, 2007,
headlined: March Madness Has
Different Smell This Year, writer Tyler Lopez.
Sports lovers can root for their favorite team without the haze of cigarette smoke.
Eight months into Colorado's statewide smoking ban, patrons and staffers say it's changing the look of the "sports bar" at this popular time of year for the hoop-addicted.
"We sold about 15 percent more food at the restaurant, which is a pretty significant increase for any restaurant, I would think," said Matthew Brown,
manager of the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek North.
"A lot more families (are) coming in now. Which, sometimes smoking would curtail the families from coming in in the past. And so, it's a welcome
environment for everybody now. (It's) Not just the bar crowd."
Parents seem to agree.
"Honestly, yeah I feel a lot more free to go pretty much anywhere," said Tracy Hughes
Staffers said that tips have remained steady as food sales have risen.
Excerpts from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 23, 2007, headlined, "Smoking bill awaits changes by Kaine, Governor has signaled desire for stronger law that could further limit public smoking", writer John Reid Blackwell.
The state Senate yesterday passed a bill, 23-17, that would require restaurants that allow smoking to post signs saying so at public entrances. The bill next goes to Kaine, and some public-health advocates think he is willing to offer amendments that would broaden the legislation.
Supporters of stronger laws against indoor smoking opposed the bill, saying it would not protect workers from the health dangers of secondhand smoke. It also would eliminate the requirement that restaurants with more than 50 seats have nonsmoking sections.
Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Kaine, said the governor has not decided what to do with the legislation. Kaine has indicated he would not favor a blanket ban on smoking in businesses, "but he has indicated he might be receptive to some restrictions on smoking in public places such as restaurants and bars," Hall said.
Last year, Kaine signed an executive order banning smoking in most state-owned buildings and vehicles.
Health groups have lobbied for a law banning smoking in restaurants, retail stores and most public, indoor places in Virginia. Several bills that sought to do that were introduced during the session. The Senate passed one bill, but all the proposals failed in a six-member House of Delegates subcommittee that has repeatedly defeated similar legislation.
The sponsor of one of those bills, Sen. Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke County, filed an amendment to Griffith's bill that would prohibit smoking in restaurants.
Bell withdrew that amendment on the Senate floor yesterday after Griffith said he would strike the bill if the Senate changed it.
"It is my understanding . . . that if we were to amend this bill, even to the point of adding a comma to it, it would be stricken," Bell told the Senate. The governor, he said, "might personally be able to make improvements to this."
Excerpts from The Roanoke Times, February 23, 2007, headlined, "Smoking bill goes to governor, House Bill 2422 would require restaurants to post entryway signs if they allow smoking", writer Mason Adams.
Bell, R-Roanoke County, urged the Virginia Senate to approve House Bill 2422, which would remove regulations requiring nonsmoking areas in restaurants while requiring those who allow smoking to post signs at each entrance. The bill's sponsor, House Majority Leader Del. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, sees it as a way to put market pressure on restaurants to go smoke-free while still respecting business owners' property rights.
Bell initially said he'd amend HB 2422 to effectively make it a ban on smoking in restaurants, but Griffith responded he'd strike the bill from consideration if the Senate made it more restrictive.
After days of delay, Bell asked the Senate on Thursday to approve the bill as is. That sends it to Kaine, who Bell said "might be able to make improvements to this once he's been able to review it."
The Senate's 23-17 vote to approve HB 2422 now puts the bill before the governor, who last fall signed an executive order banning smoking in state buildings and vehicles. Kaine will have until March 26 to sign, amend or veto the bill.
Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall was vague on the governor's plans.
"The governor has indicated he is not supportive of blanket bans on private business owners," Hall said. "However, he would consider reasonable restrictions in public places such as bars and restaurants."
"In discussions that I have had generally with the governor, he and I personally are not too far apart in our positions," Griffith said. "But I gave my word on the bill, so we may be at odds as to procedures."
If the governor does amend HB 2422, it will come back before the General Assembly for a vote later this year.
HB 2422 is the remaining piece of legislation this year pertaining to secondhand smoke.
And a poll of 625 registered voters conducted in November and released last month by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research showed 71 percent of Virginians favor a statewide law to prohibit smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants.
In addition to Griffith, five other
delegates in the House filed bills to address secondhand smoke in
Excerpts from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 16, 2007, headlined "Restaurant smoking bill advances," writer John Reid Blackwell.
February 8, 2007
Excerpts from The Assoicated Press, at Examiner.com, February 8, 2007, headlined, "Indoor public smoking ban held in subcommittee," writer Larry O'Dell.
Sen. Brandon Bell said he was pleased that the House General Laws subcommittee did not kill his bill outright for a second consecutive year. But he questioned whether he and House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith can find common ground in legislative session's hectic final two weeks. The session is scheduled to adjourn Feb. 24.
Bell 's bill would prohibit smoking in restaurants and most other indoor spaces accessible to the public. He says the measure is necessary to protect Virginians from the health hazards of secondhand smoke.
Griffith , R-Salem, has proposed requiring restaurants that allow smoking to post a "Smoking Permitted" sign at the entrance. Those restaurants would no longer be legally required to have a nonsmoking section, although they could do so voluntarily.
"It's taking off regulations that are already there," Bell told the subcommittee, adding that the bill also does not protect people who have little choice but to work in the smoking establishments.
The Roanoke Times, Letters to the Editor, January 18, 2007, writer, Anne Morrow Donley, co-founder, and President, Virginia GASP.
Del. Morgan Griffith's restaurant bill (Jan. 10 news article, " Griffith bill aimed at curbing smoking") would be wonderful if introduced in the 17th century. In today's world, why should the tyranny of poisonous smoke be permitted any longer in any work place or public place?
Tobacco smoke kills those who breathe it. The tobacco industry won't allow smoking around tobacco seedlings because it kills them.
The overwhelming evidence states that tobacco smoke also kills people who breathe it, causing various cancers, strokes, heart disease and respiratory attacks, as well as harming the development of the fetus.
Griffith states he does not want to force businesses to go smoke-free. Why not? The state "forces" businesses to meet a host of sanitary and environmental regulations, like refrigerating the chicken salad. So why not also protect the health of customers and staff by not allowing toxic fumes inside the restaurant?
This has worked well in many states, such as New York , and in many nations, such as Ireland and Scotland . Business there has increased, not decreased.
February 5, 2007
The Virginia Senate passed
legislation today to ban smoking in restaurants and most other indoor
public places. The vote was 23-to-16. [Vote
Senator Brandon Bell's bill now goes to the House of Delegates, where similar legislation already has been rejected in committee. The House passed a bill last week that would merely require restaurants that allow smoking to post a sign at the entrance saying so.
Bell said his bill is necessary to protect the health of customers and workers alike. The Roanoke Republican said people ... don't have the right to expose others to cigarette smoke against their wishes.
Republican Senator Marty Williams of Newport News
spoke against the bill. ... He ...
said there are many restaurants in rural areas with a long history of
folks gathering to play cards or dominoes and have a cigarette.
[GASPer note: Williams represents Newport News which is not rural, and which already has a strong local ordinance which is working quite well.]
House Bill 2422 passed by a vote of 74-22. Del. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said he hopes his bill will create pressure on restaurants to ban smoking. Griffith, the House majority leader, opposes a broad ban on indoor smoking that is under consideration in the Senate, and has said he will strike his bill if the Senate attempts to make it more restrictive.
Griffith's bill would require restaurants to post conspicuous "Smoking Permitted" signs at each public entrance if they allow smoking. It also would eliminate a requirement that restaurants have nonsmoking sections. The bill calls for fines on smokers and restaurant owners who violate the restrictions, and a misdemeanor charge for a third offense.
The Senate will vote next week on a bill aimed at banning smoking in most indoor public places. Sen. Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke County, is sponsoring Senate Bill 1161.
Times have changed for Philip Morris USA at the Virginia General Assembly. Lawmakers are voting this week on several bills to restrict smoking in restaurants and other public places, bills that are closer than ever to approval. And Philip Morris, the Richmond-based tobacco giant and emblem of the historic role that the golden leaf has played in Virginia's prosperity, suddenly has something to worry about.
Davis declined to comment, referring inquiries to Philip Morris. Company spokesman David Sutton confirmed that Philip Morris is "engaging" lawmakers this year to shape what he termed a "reasonable" regulation of smoking in public spaces.
A number of bills are making their way through the legislature. Sutton would not say which proposals are acceptable to the company. A bill banning smoking in most public spaces and workplaces failed in a House subcommittee Friday, and a bill that requires restaurants to display a sign if smoking is permitted was passed.
Another version of the broader bill emerged from the Senate on Wednesday and is headed to the House of Delegates.
"I'm a cancer survivor. My father has lung cancer," said John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake), who is promoting the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, which would prohibit smoking in most restaurants that open after July 1, 2008. "I don't want to just say that the state's going to step in and make these sweeping changes in one fell swoop. But it's time to do something."
Philip Morris, the world's largest cigarette maker and perhaps the most powerful emblem of Virginia's tobacco heritage, has for years used its considerable resources to protect its interests in the political realm. Last year alone, Philip Morris's parent company, Altria, gave nearly $250,000 to Virginia candidates and committees, according to the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.
The company chose in 2005 and 2006 not to
against proposed smoking bans across the nation, said Sutton, the
company spokesman. Davis, the lobbyist, stopped attending the committee
meetings at which lawmakers took up smoking bans.
It was a dramatic departure, and proposed smoking bans began popping up in greater numbers in Virginia, where lawmakers have historically stood among Philip Morris's most staunch defenders.
Instead of fighting such measures, the company began issuing statements such as this one:"Philip Morris USA believes people should be able to avoid secondhand smoke, particularly in places where they must go, such as public buildings, public transit and many workplaces. They also should be guided by public health officials regarding the health effects of secondhand smoke."
Even House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, an anti-regulation Republican and self-described libertarian, is sponsoring a bill, the one that would require restaurants that permit smoking to post clearly visible signs near their entrances. Advocates of a ban don't think Griffith's bill would do much. But Griffith said it is a compromise that would spare most employers from burdensome regulation while protecting patrons.
"The people in my district want more restaurants that are smoke-free, and they are somewhat frustrated that a majority of restaurants haven't gone that way without government action," Griffith said.
Bans have gained in popularity more quickly in other states as awareness has grown about the health risks of secondhand smoke. After New York City enacted its ban four years ago, many jurisdictions followed suit, including a number of Maryland counties and the District, which last month extended its smoking ban to bars.
The pressure is growing in Virginia. Doctors, cancer survivors, parents and others are pressuring state lawmakers to do something to protect them. And more and more lawmakers are listening.
"I know that Virginia was founded on tobacco," said Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr., a Republican from McLean whose wife, a longtime smoker, died several years ago of lung disease. "They came over here looking for gold, and they found tobacco, and it was good for them. It wasn't good for Virginians, though. The time has come to put an end to smoking in restaurants."