State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
During debate today on the state Senate floor about the proposed statewide smoking ban, I offered an amendment that the governor during compact negotiations with the tribes shall request that the smoking ban be implemented in casinos. This is necessary for the casinos to comply with our public health laws.
The compact negotiations are re-opened every five years. That would be the proper time for the governor to address the smoking issue.
Remember, the state is headed down a slippery slope, infringing upon private property rights, regulating a legal product and activity. The fairness issue is of the utmost importance. If the state is going to ban smoking in businesses, establishments and entertainment areas, then it follows if you support a ban that you support a consistent balanced approach by imposing the ban in all businesses, establishments and entertainment areas including casinos.
The Legislature is the lawmaking body of state government. The governor’s office, the executive branch of government, is directed by the legislative branch to administrate our laws. The Legislature would be shirking its responsibilities without a directive on casinos that sends a message about fairness and uniformity.
My casino amendment bolstered the positions of both sides of this issue. Supporters of a ban should embrace a casino amendment if they genuinely are motivated by public health. Opponents of the ban have their concerns about fairness addressed with the amendment.
Unfortunately, my amendment was tabled on a vote of 20-13.