Smokers have lived with numerous assaults on their personal decisions for years, but the smoking ban rose to another level and attacked small business owners throughout the state effectively denying them use of their personal property, that they worked hard for and built, for a specific purpose as if they were nothing more than caretakers of public property.
This is certainly not a partisan party issue. The final votes in the Assembly and Senate were greatly mixed showing both parties infiltrated with control freaks.
Democrats: Assembly 84 yes - 11 no ~ Senate 20 yes - 4 no
Republicans: Assembly 13 yes - 33 no ~ Senate 37 yes - 0 no
Assemblyman Daniel Hooker’s comments made on the floor of the Assembly during debate on the smoking ban, Wednesday, March 26th, 2003:
I am from a rural district as well, and while we don’t have any cities, we do have a lot of restaurants, taverns, and diners, and this bill will hurt their business. We also have a lot of VFW Posts, American Legion Posts, and Marine Corps League Posts. I can’t help but think of the irony of the situation where a soldier or Marine comes home from the war, goes into a local VFW for a beer and a cigarette, and the bartender says "I’m sorry, young man, while you were overseas fighting for freedom, your State Assembly was quietly legislating it away here at home."
However, Mr. Speaker, I am chiefly opposed to this bill because it presumes that people are incapable of thinking and acting for themselves without the government telling them what to do.
At present, people are free to choose to work in an environment that is smoke free or not. A lot of waitresses who smoke choose to work in a bar specifically because it is a smoke-friendly environment. This bill would limit that freedom.
I don’t smoke but believe that others should be free to smoke if they choose to.
I am not insensitive to the health hazards of smoking. My Dad smoked, and he died of lung cancer. Cause and effect? Probably, but he died a free man who made his own choices.
My general philosophy is that our government spends way too much time telling people what to do and this seems like a good example of that practice.
I am opposed.
Even though I wasn't from his district, I had written Mr Hooker to thank him for his stand, and he replied with a hand-written and personally signed note providing me with the full text of his speech. All I got back from my own two representatives were form letters praising the great courageous stand they took standing with the majority to figuratively lynch a minority constituency.
We don't want to merely die like Dan Hooker's dad as free men, we want to live our lives as free men, unmolested by tyranny.
Why am I writing about this long dead issue now? Well, first of all, it's NOT dead, it was just a lost squirmish in the never-ending battle for liberty. And when it was a raging battle, we were severely chastized during that crusade for even insinuating that this assault on individual property rights would snowball down the slippery slope. Yet today, we have Mayor Bloomberg assaulting individual rights nearly every day with stop and frisk and even denying your right to choose how big of a soft drink you'd like to buy. Bloomberg rules NYC with an iron fist, but his crusades, especially against the 2nd Amendment are affecting people outside his jurisdiction. We also have Gov Cuomo, rushing through the ill-conceived NY SAFE Act to attack another group of citizens to deny them their 2nd Amendment rights to own certain property to defend themselves, their families, and their property.
The assaults won't ever end until enough people wake up to just say NO! We must honor the Constitution's legal framework that was set up to defend individual rights against usurpations of the collective and the tyrannical majority. And just saying no once or twice here or there isn't enough. We must demand that all such laws be reviewed and those that infringe on individual liberty must be rescinded or repealed. A single such law makes a precedent for others to follow.
There's a reason for the many levels of government and the central powers are enumerated and severely limited. Even statewide laws should be extremely limited. Where freedom of association comes in is at the local level. Don't like the colors your neighbor may paint his house, then join a local homeowners association and dictate away to attract like-minded people to your neighborhood sort of like what's going on in Kiryas Joel.
I can go on and on comparing the smoking ban and the NY SAFE Act to a myriad of social issues pertaining to individual rights such as one with the Defense of Marriage Act and the individual right of a citizen to marry whomever he or she pleases that is essential to maintain your right of free association.
As I continually stress, if you petition the government to limit the rights of any other individual to do anything you personally dislike, you empower them to come after you to limit yours. Think long and hard about it and please ~ Help stop the madness!