Smart Talk March 30 

Where the smoking lamp is lit
Gov. Mike Huckabee is expected to put legislation to ban workplace smoking on the call for a special legislative session, perhaps as early as April 3. He said it is past time for the state to intervene to protect workers from the dangers of second-hand smoke. The legislation he’s proposed is not all-inclusive, however. Smokers will still have some places as refuge, including some businesses where unwilling workers could be exposed to second-hand smoke, particulary workers in the hospitality industry, which has long been the major opponent of smoking limitations.

The legislation, as written, permits property owners to allow smoking:

• In private residences, except those used for day care or health care facilities.

• In hotel and motel rooms, but no more than 20 percent of the rooms in a single hotel or motel may be designated for smokers.

• All workplaces with fewer than three employees.

• Retail tobacco stores.

• Areas in nursing homes designated for supervised patient smoking.

• Outdoor areas of places of employment.

• All tobacco industry (manufacturer, wholesaler, etc.) workplaces.

• All restaurants and bars that prohibit people younger than 21 from entering and post a warning sign. A restaurant could allow smoking in its bar and not in the dining room if underage people are kept out of the bar and “provided that secondhand smoke does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited…”

A bloody ring of fire
A news report provides an Arkansas connection to a recent English cricket victory over India. From the BBC:

Team captain Andrew Flintoff revealed that a blast of country music during the lunch break was behind England’s inspired display of seven wickets for 25 runs.

“We went in the dressing room, had our lunch then played a bit of Johnny Cash, ‘Ring of Fire,’” he said. “It got the lads going and we came out afterwards with a spring in our step.”

Swing bowler Matthew Hoggard provided the music. “I’m the only guy that’s sad enough to have Johnny Cash on his iPod,” said Hoggard. “We had a rousing rendition and that seemed to do the trick.”

A warning for parents

Mothers Against Drunk Driving called attention last week to an alcohol-related conviction in Circuit Court in Jonesboro. It was a warning to parents who think it might be better to serve alcohol at home to kids rather than leaving teens to their own devices. The woman that the Jonesboro Sun referred to as the Keg Mom, Tonya Curtis, 38, was convicted by a jury on charges related to providing a couple of kegs of beer for as many as a hundred teens at a party at her house last April. She was appealing a guilty verdict in district court and, for her trouble, got an enhanced sentence. Her days in jail rose from 40 to 74, she got a $2,100 fine and she was again ordered to do 180 hours of community service in an alcohol-related setting. According to the Sun, Judge John Fogleman calculated the number of days in jail by the number of teens identified the night of the party. The defendant’s husband, Dr. Paul Curtis, in pleading for a lenient sentence, said the event would not have occurred had he been home. The jurors, perhaps mindful of community habits, acquitted Martin on a charge of possession of alcohol for sale in a dry country.


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