Monthly Archives: January 2017

2017-01-12: House votes down smoke-free members’ offices amendment

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Smoke-Me Missouri State Capitol

I watched the online video of the House debate on Thursday morning, January 12th, 2017, of an amendment to the Rules to make the “private” offices of House members smoke-free.  Amendment .04H was proposed by the  Minority Whip, Rep. Kip Kendrick (D). It was opposed by the Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R), and then defeated on a voice vote.

As noted on previous occasions, it’s highly regrettable that this has moved from being a health and welfare issue, ensuring access to the State Capitol for those with breathing disabilities, to evidently becoming a partisan issue.  Of note, however, is this statement by Rep. Cierpiot during his opposing argument:

I believe the spirit of the Amendment is reasonable and is something we might decide to do. But the proper way to do it, in my opinion, is caucus position.

A live video of the proceedings is posted online at the live link below. The 4 minute debate on Rep. Kendrick’s amendment begins at t=16:33 min. into the video recording. A transcript of the debate I prepared is appended below.

http://mohouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=278

Transcript re. amendment .04H to HR8 determining the House Rules

Following the introduction of HR8 governing the House Rules for this session, the first speaker addressed the issue of smoking. This followed the Speaker asking “Discussion?” at t=16:30 min followed by “Gentleman from Boone … may rise.”

Rep. Kip Kendrick at t=16:33: “To offer an amendment.”

“Proceed gentleman.”

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Rep. Kip Kendrick (D) Minority Whip

Rep. Kendrick at t=16:40: “To offer an amendment .04H. And this amendment, what it does is add some continuity, based on the current law in the state of Missouri regarding no smoking in state government buildings. And it includes the House and members’ offices, to basically ban smoking in the building.

I’m not standing up today to throw bombs or make it a partisan issue – I don’t believe it’s a partisan issue. And I have to believe that over 90% of the people in this body believe that this is an acceptable rule change: to ban smoking in the State Capitol.

And for those of you who don’t agree I would have to assume that you would agree to repeal of a smoking ban in all state buildings because there really is no good reason why we ban smoking in every state building but then exempt ourselves, exempt the State Capitol. There’s no good reason at all. When we talk about this is the People’s House and this is the People’s Building, it is.

I occupy Room 106-B, and I occupy – I don’t own – that office at all. So for me to say that I’m exempting myself from the existing law to say that I can smoke in my office as a privilege contradicts what we’re here for, why are we here. We’re here as public servants. We’re not any better than anyone out there definitely. We’re no better than any other state employee, and again we currently ban smoking in all state government buildings with one exemption, and that’s the State Capitol, and that’s our offices.

So again I believe that most everyone in here believes this is an acceptable rule change. And with that I’ll renew my rule change and entertain any questions. And I’d like to move for the adoption of the amendment.”

At t=19:16: “The gentleman from Boone has asked for the adoption of House Amendment 1. Discussion?”

rep-mike-cierpiot-r-majority-floor-leader

Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R) Majority Floor Leader

At t=19:22: “Gentleman from Jackson.”

Rep. Mike Cierpiot at t=19:23: “Just to quickly speak on the Amendment.

First, I believe the spirit of the Amendment is reasonable and is something we might decide to do. But the proper way to do it, in my opinion, is caucus position.

The enforcement of the rules would be difficult and I think it opens issues that we haven’t really thought through. And I know the minority caucus has done it before and it’s going to consider that soon, and in my opinion that’s the way to do it.

I encourage the majority to vote against this amendment.

t=19:54:  “Discussion? Seeing none, the gentleman from Boone you’re recognized to close.”

t=19:59: “Again, Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a simple rule change to make, one that we can all agree upon, and with that I renew my motion.”

t=20:13: “The gentleman from Boone has renewed his motion for the adoption of House Amendment 1. All those in favor signify by saying “Aye.” Opposed “No.”

The Noes clearly have it. You’ve failed to adopt House Amendment 1. t=20:26 min.

The following information on the two speakers is available from the Mo House Members directory:

rep-kip-kendrick-d-minority-whip

Rep. Kendrick

Rep. Kip Kendrick (D) District 045
http://house.mo.gov/districtmap.aspx?district=045
Minority Whip
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 106-B
Jefferson City MO 65101
Legislative Assistant: Donna Scheulen
Phone: 573-751-4189
E-Mail: Kip.Kendrick@house.mo.gov

The above district is centered on Columbia, MO.

rep-mike-cierpiot-r-majority-floor-leader

Rep. Cierpiot

Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R) District 030
http://house.mo.gov/districtmap.aspx?district=030
Majority Floor Leader
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 302-A
Jefferson City MO 65101
Legislative Assistant: Stephanie Willis
Phone: 573-751-0907
E-Mail: <Mike.Cierpiot@house.mo.gov>

The above district is southeast of Kansas City, MO.

2017-01-10: Missouri House committee rejects smoke-free rules for its members

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missouricapitol-black-smoke1

Smoke-Me State Capitol, Jefferson City, Missouri 

As is the norm, at the start of a new session of the Missouri Legislature following statewide elections, rules are adopted for the conduct of the House and the Senate. And as has happened before, when an attempt was made on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017, to remove smoking from the last place it’s still allowed on the House side of the State Capitol in Jefferson City – in Members’ offices – it was rejected by the House Rules Committee on a party-line vote. That’s despite the fact that all other state-controlled offices were made smoke-free in the 1992 Missouri Clean Indoor Air Act (see Section 191.767.  4. and note that’s because adequate ventilation to allow smoking at minimum cost is unfeasible).

The Associated Press, which has an office in the State Capitol, published a story picked up by news outlets both within Missouri and elsewhere in the U.S. I’m grateful to Mr. Stan Cowan of Jefferson City for that AP story (reproduced immediately below in blue), followed by the text of his testimony at the hearing. Finally, a review of some past history of the efforts of individuals and MoGASP to promote a smoke-free State Capitol.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP)  January 10, 2017
Missouri lawmakers have defeated an effort to ban smoking in state Capitol offices. 

Smoking already is prohibited in Capitol hallways and legislative chambers. On Tuesday, a House rules committee heard testimony from several high school students and the Jefferson City Council urging legislators to ban smoking everywhere in the Capitol, including in offices.

But the panel’s Republican majority struck down a proposed amendment to the House rules on a 9-4 party-line vote.

Republican leaders dismissed concerns about secondhand smoke, saying the number of legislators smoking in offices was small in comparison to past years or decades.

Neighboring states such as Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas and Iowa have smoke-free capitols. Forty one states nationwide do not allow smoking anywhere in their capitol building.
__________________________________________________________

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Stan Cowan, the day after the hearing.

Testimony to Consent & House Procedure Committee
January 10, 2017
Stanley R. Cowan

In previous years, I tried presenting medical facts on the health impact of secondhand smoke to persuade the House Rules Committee of the need to discontinue needlessly exposing their colleagues, employees and visitors to this proven cause of heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases.
Despite several Surgeon General reports citing thousands of scientific studies spanning more than 30 years, it has become apparent that the Rules Committee was not impressed with the medical evidence nor about harming the health of others in the Capitol building.
In promoting a healthier community, the city council of Jefferson City passed a resolution in 2013 encouraging the House Majority Caucus to adopt a smoke-free office policy “for the sake of the health of our citizens that work in the Capitol building, for visiting constituents, and for our children.”[i]

Last year, Rep. Sheila Solon (R-31, Blue Springs) introduced HB1669, an ethics reform bill that would limit possession and consumption of alcohol on capitol grounds except for special events, and would prohibit use of tobacco products in the capitol building. She was quoted in the Kansas City Star as noting,

“There’s a feeling of entitlement among (legislators) that we’re somehow special. The public can’t drink and smoke in the building, so why can we? I mean, come on, this is a workplace. How many people are allowed to drink and smoke in their workplace?”

The news story concluded with a statement from Rep. Gina Mitten (D-83, St Louis),

“The Capitol is a public building and workplace, and the legislature needs to set a good example as a healthy and safe workplace.”[ii]

HB1669 was scheduled for a February 1, 2016 hearing by the Oversight & Accountability Committee, but then was cancelled with no reason given and never re-scheduled.

Several newspapers have printed editorials in support of a policy for a smoke-free capitol building. [iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii],[viii]

The Joplin Globe took this a step further in January of 2015 with an online poll for the following question.

“Republicans in the Missouri Legislature this past week voted to allow their members to smoke in their offices, even though the Capitol is a public building where smoking is not permitted. Do you care if they smoke in their offices?”

The response was 73% did care if legislators smoked in their office, 27% did not care.[ix]

Two years ago, when attempting to testify before this same committee, I was cut short by Chairman Engler’s quick interruption of two main points:

  • Could I name any other job where people put in as long hours as do the legislators when in session?

Actually, there are 41 examples of exactly the same jobs where smokefree policies are the norm. These are for the legislators, staff and other workers in the state capitol buildings in Topeka, Little Rock, Des Moines, Springfield, etc. for a total of 41 state capitol buildings with smokefree policies. These include 7 of Missouri’s 8 bordering states.[x] Missouri is in the minority in not providing this simple and basic courtesy toward protecting people from this known health risk. A smokefree policy has worked in these other 41 state capitols, it can work in Missouri, too.
There are more legislators and staff that do not smoke, and thus should be protected from the entirely preventable risk to their health presented by secondhand smoke. Legislators addicted to nicotine have a wide variety of non-combustible nicotine products to satisfy their craving without polluting the air. In fact, some of these nicotine products, such as orbs and gelatin strips, can be used away from the legislator’s office, meaning the legislator would not be compelled to return to his/her office for a smoke when the nicotine craving occurs away from the office.

  • “Ice cream served in the Capitol Rotunda kills more people in this House than nicotine.”[xi]

Since 1965, every package of tobacco products have been required to carry a Surgeon General’s warning on the health impact. No such health warning is required for containers of ice cream. Ice cream, consumed in moderation, is not a health risk to most people (there is even a special ice cream safe for consumption by diabetics). Tobacco, even for light or occasional users, is not safe. Every single cigarette causes harm; every exposure to secondhand smoke causes harm.
A person consuming ice cream will not cause a health risk to people nearby. A person smoking tobacco does not only impact his/her own health, but also the health of everyone in the area.
After my attempted testimony before that committee two years ago, I was approached by a legislative aide who informed me the real air quality problem in the capitol building was mold and intimated I should direct my concerns to that issue.
The legislature responded to the mold problem and appropriated of funding for remediation work. However, the elimination of air pollution from secondhand smoke can be accomplished with no appropriation of any tax dollars whatsoever. It merely takes the political will to do what is right.

Let’s take to heart an inscription on our state seal which is engraved in one of the walls of the Capitol – Salus populi suprema lex esto – “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.” A smoke-free policy for “the people’s house” honors the welfare of the people; the status quo does not.

(For References, please see bottom of this blog.)
______________________________________________________________

In the past, Missouri GASP has worked with other individuals to promote a smoke-free State Capitol, with varying degrees of success.

Vivian_Dietemann_Ch5NewsCoverStory_1998a

Vivian Dietemann

Ms. Vivian Dietemann of the City of St. Louis is owed a large debt of gratitude for taking action leading to a substantial reduction in smoking in the State Capitol. She initially wrote to then-Attorney General Jay Nixon in October 1993, and followed up with a detailed formal four page discrimination complaint dated January 9th, 1994.
The complaint alleged that allowing smoking in the State Capitol prevented her from accessing the building due to her severe asthma, exacerbated by exposure to secondhand smoke, in violation of both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Ms. Dietemann’s complaint was forwarded to the three entities controlling the building: the House, the Senate, and the Office of Administration (OA). After some discussion and delay, it resulted in a major change from no smoking restrictions to a sweeping smoking policy being formally adopted in December 1994.
The House Smoking Policy, for example, made all public areas smoke-free, as well as House Hearing Rooms, the House Chamber, and the House Lounge. This was reported in a January 9, 1995, AP story (reproduced below) by David A. Lieb headlined “Ash Canned: Lawmakers Set No-Smoking Policy.”
ap-ash-canned-lawmakers-set-no-smoking-policy-1
To view an enlarged version of the above story please click the following link:
ap-ash-canned-lawmakers-set-no-smoking-policy

An additional complaint was filed by Missouri GASP in January 1995 on behalf of Vivian Dietemann and two other smoke-sensitive individuals, Sr. Luella Dames and Don Young, a laryngectomy survivor and former smoker, seeking an entirely smoke-free building and requesting a Self-Evaluation, as required by the ADA. Mr. Ted Wedel,  General Counsel, House Research in the House of Representatives, was charged with overseeing the Self-Evaluation. As part of that process, Dietemann, Dames and Young each completed a survey in my home in Ferguson on September 8th, 1997, overseen by Mr. Wedel. The event was captured in the accompanying photo.

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Standing are Vivian Dietemann and Don Young, with a neck scarf covering the stoma in his neck through which he breathes. Seated are Sr. Luella Dames, with an inhaler on her lap, and Ted Wedel, General Counsel, House Research.

Mrs. Helen Jaegers was added to the complaint in January 1998. She was then a Jefferson City resident working for a Representative in the State Capitol. In April 1996 she wrote to the Chief Clerk of the House describing how her severe asthma was exacerbated by workplace smoking, resulting in frequent hospital visits. Following an emergency room visit, she added a P.S.:

I am so ready to wake up from this nightmare.

This time-consuming effort, spanning just over four years, resulted in a February 5, 1999, Memorandum of Agreement between the House, Senate, Office of Administration, and Missouri GASP, identifying areas in the building which would be smoke-free. This included those already so designated and two building entrances. Additionally “all staff offices open to the public are designated as non-smoking.” The Memorandum is reproduced below.
https://mogasp.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/memo-of-agreement-state-capitol-feb-5-1999red.gif

The last small but significant step forward was taken at the beginning of the 2011 session when the Members’ Lounge adjoining the House chamber became smoke-free after a vote of the House Rules Committee. Before that change, smoke would drift into the chamber, especially whenever the door was opened.

Billy Williams FAMRI May 2004 head

Mr. Billy Williams 2004

Judd STL County Health Dept July 2004sh_1528b

Ms. Rossie Judd 2004

This accompanied a major but ultimately unsuccessful effort to make the entire House of Representatives smoke-free, led by former state Rep. Jeanette Mott-Oxford, based on an ADA complaint filed by Mr. Billy Williams, Executive Director of GASP of Texas, on behalf of Ms. Rossie Judd, from Fenton, MO.
______________________________________________________________
Testimony to Consent & House Procedure Committee
January 10, 2017
Stanley R. Cowan – 
References:

[i] RS2013-32, Resolution Supporting the House Majority Caucus Adoption of a Policy to Prohibit Smoking Within the Offices of Its Members, City of Jefferson, December 3, 2013.
[ii] Jason Hancock, Missouri lawmaker pushes to ban alcohol, smoking in Capitol, January 22, 2016, Kansas City Star, http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article56120635.html
[iii] No-smoking exemption invites public scorn, January 18, 2013, Jefferson City News Tribune, http://epaper.wehco.com/daily/skins/JeffersonCity/ 
[iv] House GOP moves to retain smoking, avoid the heat, February 8, 2013, Jefferson City News Tribune, http://epaper.wehco.com/daily/skins/JeffersonCity/
[v] Live by the laws, Sunday, January 18, 2015, Joplin globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com/opinion/columns/our-view-live-by-the-laws/article_763d1f16-32cf-5aab-9edf-fdf253f6295b.html
[vi] Missouri Laws Should Apply to Lawmakers, February 21, 2016, Joplin Globe http://www.joplinglobe.com/opinion/columns/our-view-missouri-laws-should-apply-to-lawmakers/article_6ab89368-9d79-5fc5-8873-dbe7ac67677b.html
[vii] Lawmakers have not earned added responsibilities, February 24, 2016, Jefferson City News Tribune, http://www.newstribune.com/news/2016/feb/24/our-opinion-lawmakers-have-not-earned-added-respon/
[viii] Self-interest must play no role in Capitol stewardship, April 24, 2016, Jefferson City News Tribune,http://www.newstribune.com/news/2016/apr/24/our-opinion-self-interest-must-play-no-role-capito/
[ix] http://www.joplinglobe.com/news/republicans-in-the-missouri-legislature-this-past-week-voted-to/poll_e3fac638-a028-11e4-a2a4-77b2361ad21c.html
[x] The exception is Kentucky
[xi] Virginia Young, Missouri House rules spread power but won’t ban smoking in offices, 2015-01-13T15:00:00Z 2015-01-13T20:16:09Z Missouri House rules spread power but won’t ban smoking in officesBy Virginia Young vyoung@post-dispatch.com 573-556-6181 stltoday.com January 13, 2013, St Louis Post Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/virginia-young/missouri-house-rules-spread-power-but-won-t-ban-smoking/article_f6850124-361f-5800-8a02-e8724b515dfb.html
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Smoking killed Princess Leia

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stan-glantz-to-crop

Stan Glantz, PhD, as featured in
the 2014 documentary movie
Merchants of Doubt

Stanton “Stan” Glantz, PhD, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, CA, has been a tireless campaigner for smoke-free air for decades, and bitter opponent of the tobacco industry. His interests more recently include smoking in movies, identified as encouraging smoking initiation.

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Dr. Stuart Kreisman

In a  January 5th, 2017, e-mail from Stan Glantz to his list he applauds Stuart H. Kriesman, MD, on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, for an excellent just-published opinion piece titled:
Princess Leia ultimately killed by the real Darth Vader
.

Dr. Kreisman begins by reminding us of why smoking continues to be such a major health problem, “accounting for 10% of all Canadian deaths, and kills more people than alcohol, drugs, car accidents, murder, suicide, and AIDS combined.” He notes how the tobacco industry has reacted to the need to find new customers, focusing its efforts on addicting teens, with movies being “one of the main legal avenues remaining for the industry to (indirectly) market to children.”

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Carrie Fisher in Star Wars

He adds: “Numerous studies have shown that smoking in movies makes teens more likely to try smoking,” accounting for nearly 40% of youth smoking initiation.

Dr. Kriesman notes that Carrie Fisher was a lifelong smoker. “She had also fought mental health and addiction battles, smoking prevalence being disproportionately elevated in both of these groups.” He concludes that smoking was likely the cause of her death on December 27, 2016, at age 60 from a sudden heart attack.

(Stan Glantz notes that “Most people don’t know that smoking causes heart attacks.” There was no such connection made in news reports I saw or read in the case of Carrie Fisher. However, a Google search of “Carrie Fisher’s heart attack due to smoking” did include such mention in a USA Today article, which added that “diabetes, lack of exercise and obesity are more potent risks in women.”)

Dr. Kriesman’s OpEd suggests many opportunities for action against the tobacco industry, such as increasing the age limit for tobacco product purchases to 21. This is something which St. Louis County Councilman Sam Page, M.D. successfully accomplished in September 2016, with bipartisan support. That was followed shortly afterwards by the City of St. Louis approving a similar bill sponsored by Alderwoman Dionne Flowers.

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Actress Debbie Reynolds with daughter Carrie Fisher. Ms Reynolds died from a stroke the day after her daughter’s death, attributed to grief.

Dr. Kriesman’s OpEd concludes:
“Most importantly, recruit Hollywood’s help and take control of smoking’s image — show that it truly is not cool, but instead, a never-ending beauty-and-health-destroying, poverty-inducing, pathophysiological battle against nicotine withdrawal that mostly traps society’s weakest (and least enviable) members.

Maybe Princess Leia can help us defeat true organized evil after all.

Stan Glantz features Dr. Kriesman’s blog on the Smoke Free Movies blog at https://smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu/blog/smoking-killed-princess-leia and @SmokeFreeMovies and @ProfGlantz.