Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wisconsin Statewide Smoking Ban Snuffed Out in Legislature

WISCONSIN - Hopes for a statewide smoking ban are once again on hold. The Assembly ended its session Wednesday without giving the bill a vote, which means the debate is likely over until 2009.

Appleton's working smoking ban won't be going statewide after lawmakers failed to cast a vote on an issue that's been divisive, especially among bar and restaurant owners.

"I'm disappointed. I think for everybody across the street, on a fairness question, it would be nice to see it on a level playing field," Mark Dougherty of Mark's East Side Restaurant said.

Dougherty supports a statewide ban. He says the local smoking ban has brought in more business to his restaurant.

Still, others say if a tavern doesn't sell food the losses are there.

"I don't think just because I'm hurting my neighbor in another community needs to be hurting also. There has to be some sort of compromise," Brian Striegel of Camelot Bar said

The Wisconsin Tavern League fought for a phase-in period of up to three years for bars. Others felt there should be exemptions for ventilation systems or rooms open only to smokers.

Still, one lawmaker isn't giving up. Representative Steve Wieckert plans to bring back the smoking ban bill next January.

"The bill has to start from ground zero, so to speak, next year," Wieckert said. "It has to be introduced, but we can say it has the support of both committees previous session."

With bans already in Minnesota and Illinois, it's an issue eventually state lawmakers will have to vote on.

"They're just standing in the way of progress here. I think they should take it on instead of putting it off. Wisconsin should lead it a little more," Dougherty expressed.

Article Source

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smoking Ban Proposed For Renters

Proposed Legislation To Prevent Renters From Smoking In Apartments

March 3, 2008

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — A new smoking ban is in the works that could make it illegal to smoke in your own apartment.

New legislation is being proposed by democratic senator Alex Padilla of Van Nuys that would allow, not require landlords to ban smoking inside their rental units.

The Rental Association of Sacramento Valley supports the legislation and has already mailed out thousands of informational leaflets to apartment complexes in the Sacramento area.

Cory Koehler Deputy Director of the Renters Housing Association discussed benefits of the legislation, " there's the reduced costs, reduced cleaning cost, reduction of fire danger to the property and really a healthy living environment for other residents."

Some renters like Enrique Rojas disagree with the proposed legislation, " that law doesn't make any sense at this point, I understand bars maybe they should ban it in bars but not in your own apartment. I don't believe that's right."

The smoke-free housing bill has been read in the committee and unlike similar bills that have been proposed in the past, housing experts say this has a better chance of passing because it is not mandated and up to each landlord to ban smoking or not.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Protesters gather to oppose state smoking ban

This article just appeared in the Southern. Hmm, wonder why they didn't bother to do just a little research to learn that the FORCES website is located at, not They even mentioned they tried to do a google search and couldn't find the site. If they did just a little research, like type the phrase " smokers rights" into Google, they would see is the 3rd result (and with a little pat on the back I might mention is the first two results :)

But it doesn't detract from the point of the article, which is to mention the very successful protect that Jon Hemminghaus organized. Kudos to him, a non-smoker, who believes enough in our rights as citizens of a free country, to fight government control and censorship in any form.

Source: The Southern

WEST FRANKFORT - Erik Lind drove all the way from Minneapolis to show his disdain for Illinois' statewide smoking ban.

Jon Hemminghaus, owner of Wounded Rig Fiberglass and Gel Coat Repair in West Frankfort, hosted a protest at noon Saturday against the ban that began in January with stump speeches, greeters in Revolutionary War costumes waving the American flag - and smoking. While the smoking took place outside, Hemminghaus said anyone was welcome to smoke inside his establishment.

"This is the only thing you can do to get noticed," Hemminghaus said. "You can sign a petition and write a letter, but it doesn't do you a bit of good."

Lind, who said he was a contributor to a smokers' rights group called, said he made the drive from Minneapolis because he was inspired by Hemminghaus' willingness to fight for smokers' rights.

"It's a fairly rare opportunity, and I wanted to be a part of it," Lind said. "Maybe it will grow from here."

The protest didn't gain much attention from law enforcement, although Hemminghaus did say some police officers checked on the parking situation earlier.

Hemminghaus carried a cigar with him throughout the protest, despite not being a smoker. He said the protest was more about the government telling people what they can and can't do.

"That flag out there," Hemminghaus said referring to the American Flag. "A lot of people can remember when that stood for freedom."

Hemminghaus thanked people for attending and let others take the stage, including a representative from, which doesn't show up as a Web site in a Google search. The representative encouraged those in attendance to fight the ban and gave examples of reasons to fight the smoking ban, including an allegation that the smoking ban that Mayor Michael Bloomberg enacted in New York City in 2003 forced several casinos to file for bankruptcy. However, according to casino directory, there are no casinos in New York City.

For Hemminghaus, the main purpose for the protest was to let the government know that he won't let the smoking ban inflict peoples' rights.

"Smoking doesn't really affect me," Hemminghaus said. "It's just taking rights away."