Our Opinion: House GOP moves to retain smoking, avoid the heat
Friday, February 8, 2013
If House Republicans are expecting an attaboy for their half-baked proposal on smoking, we’re sorry to disappoint.
The Associated Press reported GOP representatives “are considering a policy to let lawmakers continue smoking in their offices while encouraging them to be ‘conscientious’ and ‘respectful.’”
Translation: We want to continue exempting ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else, but avoid criticism.
Without even introducing the health issue, the new proposal is the pinnacle of having it both ways.
The offices of House Republicans remain the last bastion of smoking in public buildings.
Both Jefferson City and the state have no-smoking policies. At the Capitol, smoking is prohibited in the House chamber and public galleries, but House rules permit the Republican and Democratic caucuses to establish the smoking rules for lawmakers’ offices.
Earlier this year, House Democrats decided to prohibit smoking; House Republican did not.
As a result, they incurred well-deserved criticism.
Other aspects of the Republican proposal include: requiring signs to be posted on inner doors; making smokers responsible for buying and using equipment to mitigate smoke; and encouraging smokers to open a window and smoke only between 6 p.m. and midnight.
All of this is evasive action by House Republicans to avoid taking heat for the hypocrisy of exempting themselves from the rules.