Many of you have asked about the smoking ban so here it is:
Thanks for writing me about the smoking ban.
First, let me explain how we got here. I have been one of four Republicans who in Sub-Committee year after year killed these smoking ban bills. I did so because I believe that a business owner should be able to decide what he wants in his own business. And many of these smoking ban bills were not just bans of smoking in restaurants, but also bans in all public places, including offices. So people like me who pay a lot of money in rent for my law office in Springfield and Arlington, could not even smoke a cigar in the privacy of my own office. Moreover, and most offensively, they wanted to ban smoking in private clubs! So a guy, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, could not smoke a cigar in his own American Legion Hall, even if the majority of the members wanted to allow smoking.
Now, let’s talk politics.
I do not go to Richmond to “do what Dave Albo wants to do,” rather; I go to Richmond to do what my constituents want me to do. Over the years, I have received hundreds of e-mails, calls and letters asking for a smoking ban. On the other side of the issue, I have received just three calls and four e-mails asking me to preserve smoking. As such, I began looking to form a compromise solution that did not offend my sense of personal property rights, but did establish some controls over smoking in restaurants.
The bill that I wrote, which is now the basis of the compromise, bans smoking in restaurants, but allows for some exceptions. The exceptions include restaurants with a designated smoking room that is physically separated and independently ventilated from non-smoking dining areas, any permanent outdoor patio area of a restaurant, any private club and street-side “hotdog” stands and other mobile points of food service.
This legislation addressed many of the concerns I had with previous attempts to ban smoking, but I am pleased with the outcome.
I hope you all like this compromise. A “compromise” means that I get things that I like, but have to accept some things I don’t like. At least this bill enables restaurants that want smoking a way to provide this service to patrons.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call Delegate Dave Albo at (703) 451-3555 or look at the smoking section on my website.