Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mount P moves forward!

Today a great new article from the Island Packet. Unfortunately one member of the house is concerned that even in the last 6 days some members of the statehouse might try to sneak through another bill that would stop local municipalities from decideding their fate.

"Herbkersman said he expects some legislators will try to reintroduce the part that undermines local bans by attaching it to another bill during the next week."

In other news Mount Pleasant has decided after months of stalling that the time for action is now. Mount Pleasant council had waited months for the Statehouse to take action on passing a state-wide law, but given their inactivity Mayor Hallman now wants to move forward. Council will be considering this measure at their next meeting on June 12. Keep checking the blog for more information.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Once again your hard work has paid off and the Tobacco lobby has been defeated. The proposed law was not voted out of committee yesterday in the Statehouse, and assuming there is no furthur action in the next week the 9 local municipalities that have gone smoke free will be allowed to continue being smoke free.

The State along with almost every other outlet picked up the AP article.

Here is the Action Alert from SFAN

Smokefree Action Network
Action for Smokefree Workplaces

For Immediate Release - May 29, 2007
Dan Carrigan, Phone: (843) 509-5272
Dianne Wilson, Phone: (843) 871-9439 - Email:

house JUDICIARY COMMITTEE removes PREEMPTION measure from School smoking bill
Industry allies intent on blocking home rule of local smokefree laws

Columbia, SC - Health advocates and citizens beat back a second attempt by the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee to pass amendments added to a bill that would have eliminated all nine local smokefree laws passed in the state in the last year.

Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr., of Sumter added the preemption amendment to the bill, S.103, in the Criminal Laws Subcommittee on May 23rd. The bill was originally intended to limit smoking on school grounds.

In an earlier attempt on May 9th, the House Judiciary Committee sent another bill, H.3119, back to subcommittee, effectively killing it, after complaints from public health groups. The committee's second attempt today was met with even more resistance.

The American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and American Cancer Society all oppose preemption of local smokefree laws, because these laws tend to leave more workers exposed to secondhand smoke.

"Preemption is nationally known as the cigarette industry's tool to keep the public out of the debate over smokefree laws," said Dan Carrigan of the Smoke-Free Action Network. "Today the industry came to the legislature to take away the hard-fought laws already decided on by local communities, and they failed."

Events played like a sort of legislative theater, with industry allies failing to accept that they had been beaten.

First, Rep. Walt McLeod, who supports home rule decisions, requested to have preemption considered separately, which won with one dissenting vote. Next, the committee voted to remove the preemption language entirely.

Then, Rep. James E. Stewart, who also favors local governments' right to decide, introduced an amendment that specifically clarified that local governments do indeed have the right to create their own smokefree laws. The Stewart amendment then passed by all but two dissenting votes, Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. James H. Harrison (Richland.)

When Stewart's amendment to protect local control passed, Rep. G. Murrell Smith threatened to filibuster the committee, saying, "I hope you got your bags packed because you're going to be here all night. This is just ridiculous to pass this thing."

At this point, Rep. Garry R. Smith (Greenville) walked out of the room to leave the committee without the required minimum number of attendees for a quorum, at which time Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr., called for a quorum, in a procedural move to force the chairman to adjourn the meeting, rather than allow the bill to move forward with language supporting local governments' ability to pass smokefree laws.

Health groups remain vigilant, as the same preemption measure could re-emerge in either the House or Senate prior to the end of the legislative session. "It's a long and continuous battle, but we're hopeful that all communities throughout the state will be able to pass their own smokefree laws to protect all workers," said Dianne Wilson of the South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network.

The legislature adjourns on June 7th.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

News from around the State

The Statehouse will be voting on the newly proposed smoking bill today. We will of course keep you updated about that as news comes in. For a re-cap there is a story from the Post and Courier.

Friday, May 25, 2007


The SC Statehouse will stop for "summer recess" on June 7th. At the suggestion of Tobacco lobbyists a last minute bill has been introduced to overturn all existing local smoke free laws. Now we need your help to make sure that the cities that want to be smoke free stay that way and this government doesn't intrude in local business.

S.C. House Judiciary Committee votes Tuesday at 2:00pm.
Please call TODAY!
Two weeks ago, you made calls that helped save nine local smoke-free air laws in South Carolina.

These laws are under attack again!

Call now and ask these House Members to KILL PREEMPTION. Preemption will take away home rule and block local control of smoke-free laws.

The tobacco industry is at it again! S.103 was a good bill to limit smoking on school campuses, until the cigarette and hospitality industries put in language that will destroy all nine of the local laws passed in the state in the last year and replace them with the weakest statewide law in the nation. Without your voice, Big Tobacco will succeed in keeping workers exposed to secondhand smoke in places like Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Sullivan's Island, Greenville, and Columbia.

Laws creating health policy at the state level should set the minimum standard of protection of citizens, not restrict local governments by setting the maximum standard of protection.


Call TODAY, it's EASY! (If they are out, leave a message)
Sample Script:

Representative ______, my name is __________, I live at 123 Main Street in (my hometown), S.C.

I am calling to ask you to vote to KILL PREEMPTION in S.103, because local governments should have the ability to pass their own laws to protect workers from secondhand smoke. Home rule decision-making gives us the ability to protect citizens in our local communities.

I believe that everyone has the right to breathe clean air in public places and especially at work.

Can I count on your vote to KILL PREEMPTION in S.103 and RESTORE LOCAL CONTROL of smokefree laws?
Thank you for your vote.

Please let us know how they respond to you by sending a message to:

Thanks in advance for helping, have a Happy Memorial day weekend.