Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Where The Power Lies

Choice, what a magical word. The latest "choice" to be attacked is a business owners choice on whether to allow smoking. In 2002 our legislature mandated that smoking would no longer be permitted in most public places and because of a loophole that I am sure was intentionally left in the bill because of the casino and gambling lobby, establishments that served liquor were exempted.

After abortion, smoking looks to be the next on the list of great evils that our legislature seems to have put the bullseye on. This year, our fearless leaders are again revisiting this issue and this time they are looking to close that loophole, except for you guessed it, casinos. I completely understand those that wish to not be subjected to second hand smoke and many restaurants and bars have already gone smoke free but why are our legislators telling businesses that still allow smoking that they must go smoke free? If you do not wish to be subjected to smokers, you have a choice to go to an establishment that is smoke free. If a business that allows smoking determines that allowing smoking is hurting their business, they are perfectly within their rights to make their business smoke free.

The folks in Pierre seem dead set on legislating how we live our lives and the latest smoking ban is just the latest attempt but what I find funny is how in their seemingly overwhelming concern for our well being, the gambling industry, with all their documented societal issues, again gets a pass. As if it wasn't apparent before, there is no doubt now as to where the power lies. I am all for personal choice, one's right to choose whether to smoke, ones right to choose to gamble, and in this case I guess our legislator's are again choosing to be hypocritical...

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