It also brought back vividly an early encounter with John Britton, lobbyist for both The Tobacco Institute and Anheuser Busch in Jefferson City. It was during a February 1986 public hearing chaired by the late pipe-smoking Senator, J.B. “Jet” Banks. Following testimony from supporters of a fairly weak bill, John Britton rose and started talking about the court of King Arthur and the days of chivalry. What this had to do with secondhand smoke I don’t recall but I do remember thinking his testimony was so garbled the bill was certain to be voted out of committee.
A similar bill was only voted out – and promptly – a couple of years later once it had been fatally altered with an amendment insisted on by Britton, the so-called preemption amendment, to make the proposed weak state law the strongest in the state. I hope to write more in a subsequent blog but for now please read Bill McClellan’s insightful piece below, published March 11, 1990.