Sample Action Alert
Publication Date: 8/29/2003
Ohio #1 on Tobacco Industry Hit List
The ability of local communities to protect nonsmokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke is being threatened by pending legislation in Ohio. If enacted, HB 298 would revoke the ability of boards of health to adopt local smokefree regulations. Boards of health would be able to propose rulemaking, but the actual regulation would have to be approved by the local governing authorities (i.e., city councils, township trustees, etc.). The House Local Government Committee will be holding its final hearing on HB 298 on June 2, 1999.
Tobacco industry front groups are heading up the preemption campaign. HB 298 is supported by tobacco industry allies including the Ohio Restaurant Association, the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Ohio Travel Association.
Once secret tobacco industry documents* show the big Tobacco’s primary legislative goal is to enact preemption in all 50 states. One of these documents designates Ohio as a Class B state; the tobacco industry’s legislative objective for Class B states is: “To partner with hospitality industry in order to pass statewide accommodation/uniformity legislation.”
Big Tobacco and its hospitality allies would like nothing better than to get preemption in Ohio. Don’t let Ohio be the first state to wipe out local clean indoor air laws in 1999!
What You Can Do:
1. Call or send a letter to your representative in the House of Representatives NOW urging them to support local control and OPPOSE HB 298. Address letters to: Honorable _________, Ohio House of Representatives, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43266. Call (614) 466-3357 and ask to speak with your Representative; you can also obtain the fax number for your Representative by calling this number.
2. Contact your city and county elected officials, urging them to take action against HB 298. Encourage these elected officials to enact a resolution asking the state Legislature to oppose HB 298.
Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper opposing HB 2989. Elected officials read these letters to gauge public opinion.