2005 Legislative Memo
In Opposition to Raising the Purchasing Age for Tobacco
S 5098 - Fuschillo (On Health Committee Agenda)
Purpose: Increases the purchasing age for tobacco products from eighteen to nineteen.
Party Position: The Conservative Party of New York State does not advocate smoking, nor does the Conservative Party seek to encourage people to smoke cigarettes or cigars, but the fact remains that smoking is legal in New York State. At eighteen years of age, New Yorkers are considered emancipated, free to marry, vote, enter the workforce, and protect America's freedom by entering military service. Government allows an eighteen year old to protect us, but is seeking to make it illegal to purchase a legal substance. How ironic.
The campaign against tobacco use is making progress. The American Lung Association's website fact sheet on teenage smoking states "Although smoking rates among high school students increased 32% between 1991 and 1997 (27.5% to 36.4%), rates have declined by 40% since 1997. In 1965, the smoking rate per adults was 41.9%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet, in 2004, the rate is 22.5% throughout the United States. Education is the best method to reduce smoking in both adults and our youth and it is evident that it is working.
Of the three states, Alaska, Alabama and Utah, that have a nineteen year old purchase age, Alaska and Alabama have higher rates of smoking than New York. Utah, has the lowest smoking rate in the United States, but is it the purchase age or the large Mormon population?
Instead of raising the legal purchasing age, legislators should eliminate the excess taxes imposed on cigarettes. In New York City, the exorbitant taxes imposed by Mayor Bloomberg have created a "black-market". One no longer has to enter a store to purchase cigarettes. Entrepreneurs make regular runs to states with less sales tax and deliver right to your door. We ask you, how would raising the purchase age help?
As long as 18 year olds can protect us by serving in the Military and as long as they are allowed and encouraged to vote for you they should be allowed to purchase a legal substance. We urge you to vote No on raising the legal age to purchase tobacco.
2004 Legislative Memo
In Support of Amending the Smoking Ban
S. 6372 - Meier A. 11385 Rules (Destito)
Purpose: To allow smoking in certain businesses where there is an air filtration and purification device in operation and where the service of food is incidental.
Party Position: The New York State Conservative Party does not promote smoking, yet we cherish the right we have as adults to make the choices in what we do. The very foundation of the American way of life is the freedom individuals have to make choices. Obviously, there are times when individuals do not make the best decision, but we believe a decision to use a legal substance should be made by the individual, not government.
We, therefore, strongly support the need to amend the onerous smoking ban, which in the almost full year that it has been effective, has placed undue financial strain on small business struggling to make a living.
Much is said by Members of our Legislature about the need to have "living wages" and the need to increase minimum wages in New York State, yet a legitimate business is curtailed, limiting the ability to pay employees, in fact, forced to layoff employees, because government has decided that smoking is not good for you. What is next, taking cars off the roads because there are automobile accidents?
We urge you to pass the proposal that will allow businesses to install air filtration and purification devices so they can stay in business.
Not every business will choose to do so, which is exactly what the free enterprise system is about. Before the onerous smoking ban, many small businesses chose to go smoke free, and we applauded that decision. However, there are people who still enjoy a cigarette or cigar and as long as it is a legal substance, they should be allowed to have one in a bar, bowling center or billiard center if they so choose to.
We urge you to pass this proposal now, this session, before any more businesses are forced to layoff employees or close.
May 25, 2004 News Release
CONSERVATIVES WANT TO KNOW:
IF YOU'RE OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE, WHY NOT TO SMOKE
Ft. Hamilton Station, NY -- The Conservative Party, in a memo released to the 212 Members of the Legislature wants to know why, if you are old enough to vote, why not to smoke. The Conservative Party stated in the memo that 18-year olds are adults and should be allowed to make their own life choices. The memo follows:
The Conservative Party does not encourage people to smoke, however we firmly believe that this proposal will do nothing to remove cigarettes from the reach of underage children, the stated purpose of the proposal.
Essentially, if this proposal were enacted, an 18 year old is old enough to vote for President and all other elected officials, can get married, can defend the United States of America, but can not legally purchase a pack of cigarettes.
Even the Centers for Disease Control does not recommend raising the smoking age, their recommendation is to educate the public to the health problems associated with smoking.
Of the three states who have a smoking age older than 18, two of them, Alabama and Alaska, have not seen a decrease in smoking. Utah, who also has a 19-year-old requirement, has the lowest smoking rate in the nation, but it is most likely because of the family rather than the age.
Raising the drinking age to 21 has not reduced the alcohol consumption by minors; in fact, the percentage has risen.
Editorials from the Troy Record, Schenectady Daily Gazette, The Citizen (Auburn, NY), the Star Gazette.com, UticaOD.com, have also been opposed to raising the smoking age.
Eighteen year old New Yorkers are adults and should be able to make life choices, we therefore urge you to reject this proposal.
May 10, 2004 News Release
CONSERVATIVES CALL ON LEGISLATURE TO AMEND UN-AMERICAN SMOKING BAN
Ft. Hamilton Station, NY - The New York State Conservative Party urged all 212 Members of the Legislature to stop acting as our Nanny by imposing their will on people and business owners. The Conservative Party, in a memo released to the Members urged them to amend the onerous smoking ban, now before any more businesses are forced to close. The memo follows:
The decision to ban smoking in all buildings has proved to be a severe financial loss for many small businesses throughout New York State. While the original bill seemed to allow waivers to be passed, if financial losses occurred, waivers have been hard to come by. Many legislators believed that the original bill would create an "even playing field" throughout the state and that waivers would be granted to those who suffer financial losses, neither belief has proven accurate.
The only solution is to amend the smoking ban. This bill appears to be the acceptable compromise needed to solve the dilemma faced by those who truly believe that government has a responsibility to curtail the harmful effects of smoking and those who believe that governments responsibility is to allow businesses the ability to serve their customers, as long as substances wanted are legal.
Prior to passage of the onerous smoking ban, businesses were free to impose, on their own, a no-smoking rule in their establishment. Some chose to do so. We know that when this bill is adopted, not everyone will rush to install an air-filtration system, and we support that choice. However, the loss of revenue experienced by many in bars and related businesses, indicates that something must be done to end this un-American way of interfering in legitimate business.
Freedom to run their businesses as they see fit is what has made Americans and New Yorkers the most envied Country in the World. New York's government must resist the need to be our Nanny and allow us to be ourselves even if they think we are incapable of doing so. We, the people, made New York and America great and we, the people, will continue to do so as long as government does not interfere.
We urge the Members of the Legislature to pass this bill.
January 28, 2004 News Release
CONSERVATIVES CALL ON LEGISLATORS TO AMEND DRACONIAN SMOKING BAN
Ft. Hamilton Station, NY -- Chairman Michael R. Long has called on all 212 Legislators to amend the draconian smoking ban passed without public discussion last March. The following memo was sent to every member of the Legislature calling for action:
We are nearing the end of the first month of the Legislative Session, and I would like to remind you of our efforts to amend the statewide smoking ban.
We are certain that you are aware that we have spearheaded the movement to amend the draconian smoking ban by distributing over 300,000 postcards and petitions and we receive daily request for more. Clearly, there is a need to amend this law, before any more businesses are forced to close.
Assemblyman Abbate has introduced a bill that seeks to provide a limited exception to the ban in restaurants and bars and Assemblyman Mills has introduced a bill that would allow bars to purchase a "smoking" license for bars.
But these bills are not moving and businesses are still closing. We are not advocates of smoking, rather we are advocates of justice. The justice of allowing a business, which pays taxes and employees people, to conduct its business as it chooses to with legal substances. Tobacco is still a legal substance in New York State.
We urge you to reconsider this draconian law now. We urge you to listen to your taxpaying constituents who own small businesses and those who responded to our survey. Sixty-seven percent of voters across New York support amending the harsh new prohibition to allow some carefully structured form of limited smoking in restaurants, bars, lounges, and bingo halls. Only 27.7% of non-smokers support the State imposing the ban.
We urge you to listen, while you can, before there is no one left to hear and the lights are all out.
December 17, 2003 News Release
CONSERVATIVES REMIND LEGISLATORS BIG BROTHER'S SMOKING BAN HURTS BUSINESS
Ft. Hamilton Station, NY -- State Conservative Chairman, Michael R. Long, has sent a memo to each legislator, asking them to reconsider the onerous smoking ban they passed in March.
The smoking ban is back in the news this week with the issuance of new rules for granting waivers and the Conservative Party has renewed its call for Members of the Legislature to allow business to conduct their business as it chooses to with legal substances. Tobacco is still a legal substance in New York State. Chairman Mike Long took the opportunity to remind the Members that, while the Conservative Party is not an advocate for smoking, it is an advocate for businesses and the right for businesses who pay taxes to make their own choice regarding how they run their establishments.
The Conservative Party has supplied local bars, restaurants, bowling and bingo establishments and individuals throughout the state with over 230,000 post cards asking for relief from the smoking ban since October and continue to fill request for more daily.
Letter sent to each Legislator from Chairman Mike Long regarding the Smoking Ban
Recently I sent you an Executive Summary of the results of a poll the Conservative Party commissioned regarding the onerous smoking ban passed during the 2003 legislative session. I hope that you have had time to review the summary and have noted that two-out-of-three voters would change the smoking ban.
Following up on the results of the McLaughlin & Associates Poll, the Conservative Party, last week, launched a statewide post card campaign to amend the law. There has been a tremendous response. Telephone calls and emails have flooded our office requesting the post cards. People have requested them for their own use and businesses have requested thousands for their patrons to sign and send back. The requests have come from all over New York State, from small Mom and Pop establishments to large Bingo halls, all believing that the vote to totally ban smoking indoors has gone too far.
James Madison once stated that he "believes there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
Those who are requesting the post cards have come to realize that James Madison was right. And they are taking the opportunity to let you know that they want this law amended.
What will your answer be?
Please let us know, by November 1, 2003, if you will support legislation amending the law to allow accommodation for everyone, smokers and non-smokers.
Michael R. Long
October 7, 2003 News Release
CONSERVATIVE PARTY KICKS-OFF STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN TO AMEND SMOKING BAN
GRASSROOTS STATEWIDE EFFORT TO GATHER SIGNATURES ON POSTCARDS TO AMEND SMOKING BAN
Ft. Hamilton Station, NY -- "New Yorkers felt they were burned by the State Legislature's extreme smoking ban and strongly oppose Albany's inflexible new restrictions according to the Poll we released last month," Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long stated, "And today we are launching our Amend the Smoking Ban campaign statewide."
Reports around the state indicate that independently owned bars and related businesses are feeling the strong arm of government in their establishment. Many have had to let workers go and some have had to close.
Long said the statewide postcard campaign is a way for voters to voice their concerns and let the legislators know that they have gone too far with the smoking ban.
The independent survey showed two-out-of-three voters would change the sweeping new smoking prohibition and allow for some reasonable accommodation for smokers.
"Voters wisely know we can find a workable way to handle smoking without Big Government crushing everybody's freedom of choice. Even non-smokers are offended by the Legislature's extreme methods", Long explained.
Our poll indicated that sixty-seven percent of voters across New York support amending the harsh new prohibition to allow some carefully structured form of limited smoking in restaurants, bars, lounges, or nightclubs. Even in New York City, over 64% of voters favor an accommodation over a prohibition.
"Voters across the state need a clear way to inform the members of the Legislature of their views and our postcard campaign is our way of responding to the voters needs. We are hoping that the legislators will also respond by amending this law before the bitter winter weather takes hold and certainly before any more businesses are forced to close," Long stated.
We would like residents of New York State to be aware that the Conservative Party has been their voice to amend the onerous smoking ban that became effective July 24, 2003.
The Smoking Ban is the latest bill passed by the Legislature that presumes Legislators know what is best for us.
And understand this, this bill is just the beginning….unless we act now to amend the bill…they will pass other bills that seek to make it illegal to smoke in your personal car if you have someone younger than sixteen in the car and also to make it illegal to smoke at the beach. Think we are exaggerating?…we're not…. these bills have already been introduced.
We must make every effort to amend this bill….our postcards should be available in every local bar, pub, restaurant, bowling alley, Veterans Hall, Elks Club and every other place affected by this bill. Just 10 years ago, most of these establishments complied with the Clean Indoor Air Act and established a separate smoking area…only to be told this year that that was not enough! What will it be next? Big Brother entering our home to confiscate the legal substance?
Everyone should be a part of this effort, the public agrees that this Bill has gone too far. The results of our Poll by McLaughlin & Associates are posted on the website: www.cpnys.org. If you do not have access to the website, contact us and we will send you the executive summary. Residents from Buffalo to Montauk Point from Chautauqua to Clinton and every town in between should be aware of the Conservative Party's efforts on amending the smoking ban.
The postcards will be available through our county organizations or by contacting the Conservative Party directly.
View our postcards against the Smoking Ban and then e-mail us to order yours. Please let us know how many you'll need for your friends and family.
September 8, 2003 News Release
SURVEY SAYS SMOKING BAN HAS NEW YORKERS FUMING
Sweeping Statewide Majority Favors Fixing Smoking Prohibition
"New Yorkers feel burned by the State Legislature's extreme smoking ban and strongly oppose Albany's inflexible new restrictions. It's time to listen to the voters and add a little commonsense to the law," Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long declared today.
Releasing a new statewide voter poll on the smoking ban, Long said the independent survey shows two-out-of-three voters would change the sweeping new smoking prohibition and allow for some reasonable accommodation for smokers.
"The Legislature just went too far. Voters wisely know we can find a workable way to handle smoking without Big Government crushing everybody's freedom of choice. Even non-smokers are offended by the Legislature's extreme methods", Long explained.
Sixty-seven percent of voters across New York, according to the survey, support amending the harsh new prohibition to allow some carefully-structured form of limited smoking in restaurants, bars, lounges, or nightclubs. Even in New York City, over 64% of voters favor an accommodation over a prohibition.
"It's clear New Yorkers trust their neighbors who run local dining and hospitality businesses to find a comfortable compromise on smoking," Long said, adding: "Almost 57% of voters want the issue decided by owners and management, while only 22% say the State should impose its ironclad rule. Maybe the Legislature will take the hint when they hear less than one-in-four voters say the State should dictate the issue."
Indeed, the survey found that even non-smokers offer little support of the State's extreme smoking prohibition. Only 27.7% of non-smokers support the State imposing a ban.
Interestingly, the poll found roughly equivalent opinions across political, ethnic and gender groups, with 58.7% of African Americans and 56.5% of Whites favoring the owner-management approach. And by a 2-to-1 margin, self-declared Democrats also opposed the State dictating a ban.
The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, a New York based national survey research firm, and was structured to correlate with general election voter turnout. It has a margin of error of +/- 4%.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A detailed summary of the poll may be obtained by contacting the New York Conservative Party at 718-921-2158.
2003 Legislative Memo
In Opposition to Expanding Restrictions on Smoking
S. 3292 - Fuschillo A. 7136 Rules (Granis)
Purpose: An Act to amend the public health law and the education law, in relation to the regulation of smoking in certain public areas.
Party Position: Smoking tobacco is not against the law, in fact with all the increased taxes placed on cigarettes, one could believe that government sees smoking tobacco as a cash cow. Yet, this bill seeks to place the most onerous restrictions on smoking in the nation. If this bill is enacted, the only place left that a person will be able to smoke is in the privacy of their home or their personal automobile. And we are beginning to wonder how long this privilege will last.
The supporters of the proposed legislation believe that the restrictions will protect children, non-smokers, and employees from unnecessary second-hand exposure in workplaces. Assemblyman Grannis believes that tens of thousands of people who work in bars, restaurants, and other businesses will be protected. We are a free-market society with liberty our most envied commodity and we fail to see how employers can require people to work in an environment that they do not want to. We have yet to find a business that can force people to work in it. As far as protecting children in workplaces…we would like to know when the laws were changed to allow children to work in bars. A 14-year-old certainly can not work in a bar and any of the places that they may be able to work were already covered by the clean indoor air act.
Any restaurant, bar or private business has the ability to restrict smoking on their premises. In fact, some businesses have chosen to do so and we applaud them. We believe that the free market system should be what drives businesses, not government mandates. Government mandated that commercial establishment of a certain size provide an area that would be smoke-free, and the establishments, in order to comply, made the necessary changes which, in many cases, was quite expensive. Now, the same legislative body is mandating that no smoking will be allowed in essentially every business, even if there is only one employee. What will be the next mandate?
Our government is eagerly anticipating revenues from casinos and video lottery terminals due to become operational at various racetracks in New York. It has been estimated, based on how gamblers reacted in other states, that these revenues could be reduced by 13% if a statewide smoking ban is imposed.
Government taxes cigarettes in the hope of raising revenue but then plans to place onerous restrictions on the product. Do they plan on making up the difference by imposing up to a $2000 fine on the business that can not get it's customers to stop smoking?
We urge you to allow the free market system to be the guide in business: vote NO on this bill.
2001 Legislative Memo.
In Opposition to.
S. 4989 - Fuschillo
Purpose: An Act to amend the public health law, in relation to clean indoor air
Party Position: It is becoming increasingly apparent, that our elected officials see
themselves as the only members of society that are capable of making sound decisions.
This Bill, seeking to justifying its need, states, that it would "more adequately protect
diners, restaurant and food service establishment personnel and children from health risks
associated with exposure to second hand smoke".
Unless a restaurant owner is forcing patrons to eat in his or her
establishment, we see no reason for passing these onerous regulations
requiring untenable regulations on business owners by forcing changes to
the layout of the establishment.
The sponsors' memo states that "since 1995 (when New York City banned
smoking in all restaurants) both the number of restaurant license
applications and restaurant revenues have increased." We contend that a
safer New York City has more to do with increased restaurant revenues than
a bill that limited smoking. Tourist flocked to a safer New York City and
tourists are more likely to eat in a restaurant, thereby increasing revenues.
Smoking is still a legal substance in New York State and provides large
revenues to the state. If the legislature is so concerned as to the effect
of smoking and second-hand smoke, why does it continue to profit from
those who smoke?
The Conservative Party believes that people have the intelligence to make
their own decisions. To the best of our knowledge, a restaurant can choose,
on its own, to be smoke free. No one is forcing restaurants to provide a
smoking area, and patrons are free to leave an establishment that they are
uncomfortable in. We are a society driven by the market place and this
proposal seeks to place limits on the exercise of the free market.
The Conservative Party urges a no vote on this legislation.