(Note: A MichiganVotes.org roll call list follows this article).
A recent survey by a restaurant lobbyist group shows that restaurants are seeing a drop in sales due to the state-wide smoking ban that took effect May 1.
But Andy Deloney, a spokesman for the Michigan Restaurant Association which did the survey, feels the impact may be greater once the warm weather fades. Deloney said his association expects to do another survey in the winter on sales.
"It's one thing to step right outside the door when it is 80 degrees out but it's another to do that when it is a blustery 15 degrees," Deloney said.
The survey found 43 percent of the restaurant and tavern owners found no change in sales or the number of customers since May 1. Another 42.4 percent said their sales are down since the smoking ban started and 41.2 percent say their number of customers has dropped.
"To us, this issue was never about sales," Deloney said. "The issue was the freedom of the people who own and operate the taverns, bars and restaurants as well as the people who chose to go to them."
Deloney said restaurants around the state were becoming more and more smoke-free since more customers wanted it that way.
There were 2,200 smoke-free restaurants/bars in 1998 and about 6,030 before the smoking ban took effect, Deloney said. There are 17,000 to 18,000 bars/restaurants/taverns in the state.
The smoking ban is Public Act 188 of 2009. It passed both chambers of the Legislature on Dec. 10, 2009, and was signed into law by the governor on Dec. 18. It was described by MichiganVotes.org as a bill "to prohibit a business owner, including the owner of a bar or restaurant, from choosing to allow smoking in his or her establishment. The Detroit casinos, existing cigar bars and tobacco specialty retail stores, work vehicles and home offices would be exempt from the ban."
In the Michigan Senate, it passed on a vote of 24-13, with the support of 15 Democrats and nine Republicans. One Democrat and 12 Republicans were opposed.
In the Michigan House, it passed on a vote of 75-30, with the support of 55 Democrats and 20 Republicans. There were 23 Republican votes in opposition, along with seven Democrats.
The MichiganVotes.org roll call vote for this bill is listed below. Contact information for all lawmakers may be found at www.MichCapCon.com/9313.
Lawmakers who voted TO PROHIBIT BUSINESS OWNERS from allowing smoking in their buildings:
HOUSE REPUBLICANS (20)
HOUSE DEMOCRATS (55)
SENATE DEMOCRATS (15)
Lawmakers who voted AGAINST PROHIBITING BUSINESS OWNERS from allowing smoking in their buildings:
HOUSE REPUBLICANS (23)
SENATE REPUBLICANS (12)
HOUSE DEMOCRATS (7)
SENATE DEMOCRATS (ONE)
Lawmakers who DID NOT VOTE: