On December 11, 2009, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed legislation that will make it illegal and punishable by law smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars and hotels, or any place that serves food or beverages. This law has been called The Ron M. Davis Law, the late chief medical officer of the Michigan Department of Public Health. Michigan will be the thirty eighth state to ban smoking in public places once the law takes effect on May 1, 2010. All Michigan public and private employers will be subject to the new law, which bans smoking in any “enclosed indoor area” where at least one employee is performing work for the employer. This law will apply to all bars, restaurants and work places, except for the Detroit casinos, cigar bars, tobacco specialty stores, home offices and motor vehicles. Smoking will be condoned on casino gambling floors but not in the casino bars, restaurants and hotels. Areas may be designated for workers and public smoking, but shall be isolated from the retail food area. Employers do have specific obligations to meet under the new law, however, and both the Michigan Department of Community Health and local health departments are authorized to seek enforcement of the law by actions under the Public Health Code. No-smoking signs must be posted at entrances failure of which will be considered act of misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding US$100.
Effecting the Ron M. Davis Law and the subsequent smoking ban will protect employees, patrons and citizens from the dangers of secondhand smoke, making it evident that the health of Michigan citizens is a top priority. We will create more smoke-free environments with this law, which will lead to a state with cleaner air and better health . This plan makes Michigan nearly 100 percent smoke free and helps us move toward being healthier people and a more energetic state. Smoking not only affects the health of the smoker, but also harms the passive smokers. In the workplace, workers find they are exposed to carcinogenic substances all day. About 2,500 deaths in Michigan result in second-hand smoke making it the third leading cause of death in the state. Smoking-related illnesses in grown-ups include heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory illnesses and diabetes. The young who are exposed to secondhand smoke can develop asthma, ear infections, colds and pneumonia. Even though hoteliers see this as a negative plan, saying that Michigan leads the nation in unemployment, and is the last in income growth, these restaurant owners have to know that many non-smokers don't go out as much or go to certain places because their clothes and lungs fill with smoke, now they will visit their restaurants unfettered by smoke. Michigan is actually following the great state of Ohio which has already had the foresight to pass this law. Smoking will be restricted to designated areas in public places or at meetings. If a smoking area is designated, existing physical obstacles and ventilation systems shall be used to reduce the toxic effect of smoke in both smoking and nearby nonsmoking regions. Single room public places meet this requirement only if they assign half of the room as nonsmoking. Non-compliance to these regulations may lead to revocation and/or suspension of the operating licenses of the owners. This however will not be necessary for food service establishments, licensed premises, private enclosed rooms or offices occupied entirely by smokers despite the room or office being visited by non-smokers, and in private occasions when the seating arrangements are dictated upon by the host of the occasion. We, as the law enforcing agency will ensure the following in order to prevent smoking: post signs which state that smoking in that public place is not allowed, except in designated smoking areas; set up seating to provide, as nearly as possible, a smokefree area and implement and enforce the policy for the separation of smokers and nonsmokers developed under section 12605(3). Persons who smoke in nonsmoking areas of public places or health care facilities or a person or governmental agency that fails to follow the applicable rules or set up the necessary signs shall be subject to a civil fine of not more than $100 for the first offense and not more than $500 for subsequent offenses. We shall enforce the restrictions on smoking in public places. In addition to the civil fine, we may enforce these provisions through an action in the appropriate court of law.
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Even though no financial penalties will be imposed on the owner of the premises in the case of a patron failing to comply with the non-smoking rules, sanctions that can be imposed on violators may include suspension of licenses. As it has happened elsewhere in the United States, initial opposition and resentment to the plan is expected, especially from hospitality business sector, though this has no real grounds. In the end the smoking ban will actually promote business and ensure a cleaner environment and healthier people of Michigan.
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