Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What Kind of Smoke?

When I first caught wind of The Brewpub Bill in July of 2007, I emailed my state senator (Mark Miller) to outline some of the proposal's consequences and request that he withdraw his support. Four months later, I received the following email:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your patience. It is my understanding the new law change included in the state budget will allow an establishment like the one you describe – no food requirement. You may want to consider opening as a brewer, rather than a brew pub. There are higher limits on the amount of beer you can sell. I look forward to hearing about your opening.

In my opinion, it said "thank you but F you." I replied to say that I was disgusted with the legislative process but would rather move forward than make enemies.

Last month, I emailed Senator Miller to voice my support of a statewide smoking ban* but urge him to reject any state budget that contains non-budgetary items (such as a smoking ban). The point of my email was "I'd like to see a statewide ban, but let's give it a proper approval process instead of taking the path of least resistance." Yesterday, I received a typed letter from his office that essentially said this:

Thank you for your support of a statewide smoking ban. Tobacco causes a bunch of problems. Governor Doyle included a smoking ban in his budget proposal. I support a statewide smoking ban.

Umm... ok. May I hit that bong, senator?

*While I enjoy the lack of smoke in taverns and recognize that second-hand smoke is a public health concern, I'm not entirely sold on smoking bans. In fact, I'd love to exploit an unregulated market by opening a smoke-free brewpub. The reason I support a statewide ban is because it's less unfair than municipal bans, which already exist and aren't going away.

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