Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

Smokefree DC to mayor: Veto Evans bill

Smokefree DC has asked Mayor Adrian Fenty to veto the emergency bill passed last week by the D.C. Council that would grant a temporary exemption to the smokefree law.

Fenty, who was a strong supporter of the smokefree bill when he was on the Council, has 10 days from the day he receives the bill from the Council to decide what to do. We are trying to find out now when it landed in his office. 

The Washington Post did a nice story on this today.

Below is the text of the letter we sent:

Dear Mayor Fenty.
 
Smokefree DC urges you to veto “emergency” legislation passed last week by the Council, the Special Event Exemption Act of 2010. The bill grants an exemption to the tremendously popular smokefree workplaces law — a law that you wholeheartedly supported when you were on the Council.
 
We ask that you veto the bill for the following reasons:
 
1) The measure forces workers to choose between their health and a paycheck, albeit for one day. The Council, in passing the smokefree measure in 2006, did so based on the principal that workers shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health for their job. This bill undermines that basic principle.
 
2) It sets a bad precedent and could encourage other groups to seek exemptions not just for the smokefree workplaces law, but for other laws;
 
3) It sends a terrible message to voters: that the city does not take seriously the laws that it passes. It also smacks of cronyism and tells voters that it’s okay to break the law if you are friends with a Councilmember (Councilmember Jack Evans requested the exemption, which would enable his club, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, to allow cigar-smoking at its upcoming St. Patrick’s Day event); and
 
4) It undermines the democratic process of lawmaking – the hearings, the testimony, the debate, the votes – that went into the passage of the smokefree workplaces law.
 
Mayor Fenty, you have always been a strong supporter of the smokefree workplaces movement. Please stand firm now and continue to protect worker health.

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