Either this Tuesday, MAY 19th, or Wednesday, MAY 20th the House of Representatives will go into session to address HB 16-47 around 9:30 or 9:45 a.m..When I was in San Francisco one of the friends I met looked at me with disgust when I told him they still allowed smoking in bars on Saipan. How barbaric!
The version of HB 16-47 which passed the Senate included the following amendments:
1. Page 9, Sub-Section 3174 – the Senate reduced the distance from a ventilated area, such as a window, door or vent, from 25 fee to 15 feet.
2. Page 11 – the Senate inserted a provision that gave establishments “Partial Exemption” of the Smoke Free Air Act by allowing 10% of their establishment to be designated as a “Smoking Area” if they pay an annual $2,000 Partial Exemption Fee.
3. Page 12 – the Senate continues with their ingenuity by allowing “Full Exemption” to the Smoke Free Air Act by giving establishments the option to be 100% Smoking Allowed by paying an Annual $10,000 Full Exemption Fee.
Please take a moment to an email in support of this important legislation, including language that the "Partial Exemption" and "Full Exemption" clauses be removed.
The letter should address the following:
1. To support the PASSING of HB 16-47 also known as the “CNMI Smoke Free Air Act of 2008”
2. To support the elimination of the Partial & Full Exemption clauses of the bill
Please email your comments to Congressman Ralph Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org and to Senator Joseph Mendiola at email@example.com. You can also fax your letter using the following numbers:
Congressman Ralph Torres
House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare
Fax: (670) 664-8926
Senator Joseph Mendiola
Senate Committee on Health & Welfare
Fax: (670) 664-8876
This is something I fully support. Not supporting this bill is indefensible. There are no cultural arguments to be made, because smoking is not a part of our culture. There are no health arguments to be made, because second hand smoke is universally accepted to be harmful. There are no economic arguments to be made either, because restaurants in states that ban smoking usually end of doing better business.
A sample letter could be:
Dear Commonwealth Representative Torres,It's that simple. Now mail out a letter!
I support HB 16-47 which would protect my children from harmful second hand smoke. I do not support the "Partial Exemption" or the "Full Exemption" of the bill as amended by the Senate. I humbly ask you to remove them.
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands