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Smoking ban shouldn't include veterans homes
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We all know that smoking is unhealthy, but I find it appalling that the statewide smoking ban includes King Veterans Home, which includes 13 glass enclosures with separate ventilated systems used by residents for smoking. These designated rooms allow residents an environmentally controlled place to smoke, without infringing on nonsmokers' rights.

Rep. Kevin Petersen drafted an Assembly amendment which would exclude our country's heroes from the statewide smoking ban. The amendment states: "An enclosed place in a nursing home, a Wisconsin veterans' home, or an assisted living facility that has a separate ventilation system and has been designated as an area where smoking is allowed," would be added to the statewide smoking ban exemptions.

The amendment to exempt the King Veterans Home failed. Assembly Democrats, with the exception of Bob Ziegelbauer, D - Manitowoc, voted against it. Something as simple as a separate enclosure to partake in smoking a cigarette was denied our veterans - many of whom have been smoking since World War II when they were given cigarettes by the U.S. government as part of their rations.

To make matters worse, they are allowing casinos to be exempt from the ban. Our elderly veterans living their final years at the King Veterans Home cannot smoke, but anyone can go to a Wisconsin casino, smoke, drink and gamble all night.

Smoke Free Wisconsin is headed by Maureen Busalacchi. The group, which has been given nearly a million dollars of OUR tax money through the state budget, claims to endorse a no-exemption bill which would cover every worker in Wisconsin.

Thirty-six thousand people are employed in Wisconsin casinos.

It escapes me how anyone can purport that second-hand smoke is dangerous and then ignore these workers. Add to the formula casino customers. Last year alone, Potawatomi Bingo and Casino in Milwaukee hosted 4 million visitors.

Governor Doyle in his first term bragged about the great gambling compacts he negotiated with the casinos. Why wouldn't he now negotiate for those same casinos to also be smoke-free? A possible reason he doesn't negotiate could be that campaign cash donated by Native American casinos to his elections removes the toxicity of secondhand smoke.