Clearing the Air proposes legislation to assist individuals financially ruined because of smoking bansWe were all hoodwinked by local special interest (Nicoderm) funded pro-smoking ban non-profit organizations, to legislate the manner in which hospitality owners conduct business. However because the American Lung of MN,, American Heart Assoc., American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association received a cumulative $446+ million from Nicoderm maker Johnson & Johnson company's political division, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the lobbying for smoking bans was less than forthcoming in its agenda.
Further to note, air quality testing by numerous groups proves that secondhand smoke levels are far safer than OSHA workplace permissible exposure limits.
These results are significant because smoking bans were passed based on the justification that secondhand smoke endangered the health of workers.....clearly an exaggeration as regulating the acceptable exposure level of workers is what OSHA does best. Yet air quality testing proves that secondhand smoke levels are up to 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA air quality regulations.
This is of course water under the bridge until a new legislature changes the smoking ban laws to pre-empt local laws and reverse the bans.
What isn't water under the bridge however, is the damage to businesses, jobs, and our local economy being experienced now due to these arbitrary and onerous laws. Examples include 439+ closed MN hospitality establishments, and MN economic data which shows we lost 1,200 hospitality jobs in September of 2007, or that we also shed 2,100 hospitality jobs in April of 2007. Gaming control recorded $14.1 million in revenue losses in Hennepin & Ramsey Counties after less than 12 months of local smoking bans.
I am not writing simply to rehash the old arguments......I am writing to inform you that real people in our local economy are suffering due to these smoking ban laws. What I am proposing is that the rent seeking organizations which funded the lobbyists who exaggerated and misled well intentioned lawmakers, be held accountable for the financial devastation we are now experiencing.
Johnson & Johnson Company is enjoying record profits from sales of their tobacco cessation products such as Nicoderm & Nicoderm CQ, since their political division RWJF funded the successful smoking ban movement .....a classic rent seeking maneuver. Specifically, what I propose is that a percentage of all Johnson & Johnson products sold in Minnesota should be collected and pooled into an emergency relief fund to assist hospitality business owners, employees, vendors, etc. harmed by the smoking ban laws they funded and crafted.
This law will serve 2 important functions:
1) Aid displaced business owners, workers, and vendors at NO cost to taxpayers or Minnesota government.
2) Serve as notice to any and all other special interest or rent seeking entities that in Minnesota they do so at their own peril.
Thank you for listening, and please consider this proposed legislation very seriously....peoples' lives and livelihoods in Minnesota and elsewhere have been very negatively impacted......and should be assisted by the very organizations who funded and profited from the resulting legislation.
This proposal is also mentioned at Wright County Republican, and should be replicated everywhere a smoking ban is enacted.