This story, by St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau Chief, Virginia Young, appeared last week, and highlighted some of the more absurd arguments to greet Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford’s proposal to make the House side of the Missouri State Capitol smoke-free.
I’ve added a photo of Rep. Oxford, taken while she was at the microphone listening to comments from Rep. Parkinson which fit into the “silly” category.
Rep. Michael Brown, D-Kansas City, asked her how the rule would be enforced: Wouldn’t people just smoke in the bathroom?
Of course the answer is that some would, because no law is perfect, but that doesn’t invalidate the intent of the law.
If we were only going to approve laws likely to enjoy 100% compliance there would be virtually NO laws on the books, not even against murder!
Reporter Virginia Young notes it lost on a mostly party line vote of 113 to 45, but that 113 included ALL the House Republicans.
House votes to allow smoking in legislators’ offices
BY VIRGINIA YOUNG > firstname.lastname@example.org > 573-635-6178 | (22) Comments | Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2011 5:25 pm
JEFFERSON CITY — Republicans, who hold a commanding majority in the Missouri House, trounced a proposal Thursday that would have barred legislators from smoking in their Capitol offices.
They agreed, however, to prohibit smoking in the members-only gallery at the rear of the House chamber.
Smoking is already barred in areas of the Capitol controlled by the executive branch, as well as in committee rooms and other common areas. But both the House and Senate allow members to smoke in their offices.
The request to bar smoking in House offices came from Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, D-St. Louis.
Oxford, who has asthma, said many legislators’ offices share the same ventilation system, so it’s impossible to confine smoke to a single area.
She said the House should consider the health of staff members and schoolchildren touring the building.
“As long as we allow smoking in this building, we’re denying access to some people” with asthma and other health conditions, she said.
Noting that some people have reactions to nuts, Parkinson said: “Should we ban peanut consumption in our offices as well? What about secondhand peanut-eating? What about running with scissors?“
Oxford’s proposed amendment lost on a mostly party line vote, 113 to 45, after Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, urged GOP members to reject it.
Jones said members are often in the Capitol at least 12 hours a day and it would be difficult for smokers “to go anywhere else.”
By making the rear gallery smoke-free, “we’ve made a huge step,” Jones said.