Soldotna Senator Peter Micciche presented his smokefree workplace bill to the Senate Finance Committee today – the last committee it’s scheduled to face before a Senate Floor vote.
Sen. Micciche(R-Soldotna): “And you know, Mr. Chairman, I’m a smaller government kind of guy. I really struggled with this bill. I had to put it through a litmus test: is this the right role of government? And I think about the role of government, and I think about some of the things we do regulate like safety standards in automobiles, electrical codes for wiring, requirements for infant and child carrier seats. So when I ran that through a litmus test for myself, to me it is the appropriate role of government to protect workers from the effects of second-hand smoke.”
Micciche’s opening statements were followed by some terse questions from Committee members, like Nome Senator Donny Olson…
Sen. Olson(R-Nome): “How does it pertain to businesses, for example, if a businesses owner has an area, who is a smoker, is he going to be subject to these laws as well? Where he as a business owner can’t decide what’s going to be happening in his own facility?
Sen. Miccihe(R-Soldotna): “If he has employees. If he doesn’t have employees then he’s exempt from this regulation.”
Sen. Olson said he’s a physician and doesn’t advocate for smoking, but he’s concerned by the limitations being put on business owners.
The companion bill in the House is yet to make significant progress.