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Oppressive Government Overreach from Both Parties on Anti-Smoking Bill

While the Texas House and Senate are filled with Republicans, it’s true that many of these that swear they’re on the right side on the political spectrum are not actually conservatives.

One of the things that I find most disturbing is the eagerness of some within the legislature, even those who identify themselves as Republicans, to mutilate the rights of business owners who allow smoking in their establishments.

Ellis (center) & Crownover (right) - smokefreetexas.org

SB 355, authored by Houston Democrat Rodney Ellis, and HB 670, authored by Denton RINO Myra Crownover, would ban smoking in most restaurants, bars, and other workplaces around the state. This would further increase the already-ironfisted clench of the government over the business owner, something most Republicans generally say they are against, at least while campaigning. The bills are currently in committee.

What those who support overbearing statist bills such as these will not acknowledge is that it is possible for smokers and non-smokers to live in perfect harmony as far as bars and restaurants are concerned. Some establishments will choose to allow smoking in their restaurants, and others will choose to keep their places smoke-free.

This works out extremely well, because those who want a place to smoke have the opportunity to, and those who don’t want to be around smoke can spend their money at a business that doesn’t allow their patrons to light up. Nobody has claim to a specific right to have smoke-free air inside someone else’s establishment, and if the employees are not happy with that, then they’re perfectly welcome to stop working at that particular facility, whether or not they can find a job somewhere else.

After all, in most cases, the employee had to apply to work somewhere they knew allowed smoking indoors, so the staffer made a conscious decision to be around secondhand smoke and has nobody to blame but themselves.

Patrons and employees have no real claims to someone else’s establishment except in the cases of food preparation and honesty in billing, and the business owner, who has chosen to take the risk in creating and running an establishment should have final say over what legal substances are consumed there, such as allowing their patrons to smoke.

Propaganda from the www.smokefreetexas.org website is much more nauseating than even the most acrid of secondhand smoke, where they proselytize to those who believe they have the right to allow the government to dictate every minute detail of life within their establishments.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services read testimony from professional musician Natalie Zoe, who has been performing in bars and smoky establishments for the past four decades.
Zoe wrote “Having been a professional musician for the past 40 years, the most difficult aspect of my job has always been the noxious smoke so ubiquitous in nightclubs and bars. I look so forward to the day I can book gigs anywhere and everywhere in Texas with impunity knowing I can manage to go out and make a living doing what I do without endangering my delicate and precious lungs. What a miserable trade off it has been trading my ability to breathe for my ability to make a living.”

If Zoe’s lungs are indeed as “delicate and precious” as she would have us believe, then she would probably not be able to perform effectively after spending her evenings for the last 40 years in smoke-filled bars, but I highly doubt that her website would advertise that if it were true. If the artist is still able to present her music well after so many years in these areas, I would be more willing to present it as a testimony against the argument that smoky bars are as deadly as she might want us to believe, but I digress.

One right that the nanny-state nincompoops are ignoring to further their own ridiculous statist agenda is a person’s right to take their business elsewhere, in exchange for breathing clean air. While I’m not a cigarette smoker, I do enjoy cigars often and when trying a new place, I generally call ahead to ensure that cigar smokers are welcomed into their establishment. If the restaurant or bar owner has chosen to not allow smoking inside of their business, then I can choose to spend my evenings and money elsewhere.

This option is open to non-smokers as well, but it seems that the overly-stressful activity of dialing a phone and speaking briefly to someone on the other end is too much for some, prompting these imbecilic statist legislators (on both sides of the political aisle) to craft peremptory legislation to suck the freedom away from the ones who actually took the risk to run a business.

This sort of expansive statist legislation should be everything which a decent Republican should stand athwart, yet Republican stalwarts like Midland-area Representative Tom Craddick and Kerrville Representative Harvey Hilderbran have chosen to attach their names to the oppressive measure, an extremely disappointing move from two who prefer to regard themselves as conservatives.

Overreaching legislation such as this is the result of the complaints of an extremely lazy and inept portion of our society, who choose not to believe that a citizen can make the choice to not sit inside of a smoky bar and move to an establishment whose rules more closely reflect their own. The market will take care of both sections, if the government will keep their power-grabbing hands off of our businesses.

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