In tonight’s gubernatorial debate on KWCH all four candidates for Kansas governor said they’re against the statewide smoking ban and the hypocrisy of exempting the state-owned casinos from the ban.
Little media attention has been paid to the ban’s violation of property rights and the plight of small bar owners who are losing business, including some who have already closed their bars, since the ban went into effect. Here’s the transcript:
Moderator Roger Cornish
The next question was sent in by several viewers. They say it’s hypocritical for the state to ban smoking in most public places except in state-owned casinos. Do you support the smoking ban and if so, what would you say to those who accuse the state of a double standard.
Andrew Gray (Libertarian):
Absolutely not. We do not support the ban in any way shape or form strictly on the basis of property rights. If a property owner wants to allow a legal act to occur on their property and they see part of their revenue dropping because of their smoking policies they will change and succeed. If they don’t they will fail. That’s the free market at work and not the government trying to micromanage how it is done. And we also see it as extremely hypocritical of the state to tell private business owners you can not allow a legal activity to occur on your property but with the exception of State-owned casinos.
Ken Canon (Reform Party):
Once again, we believe in right-sizing government. We know that if we right-size government it will not be over regulating small business people. Consequently I agree with Mr. Gray. I don’t believe that government needs to be involved in those situations. That should a local decision by that business owner. I’m a non-smoker, however again I think that‘s a decision that belongs with that small business owner and does not belong and should not be regulated by the state of Kansas.
State Sen. Tom Holland (D-Baldwin City):
In the legislature, I voted against the statewide smoking ban. I believe these issues are best left to local control, local units of government.
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R):
I think they need to be left to local units of government as well, but I’ll tell you something else that we ought to do, that’s to put the ban on the state-owned facilities. That’s where the ban ought to be on in the first place, is the state should lead by example and not exempting itself by something like this. That smoking ban ought to be on the state facilities and leave the other issues to the local control. That’s the best way a state can lead, doing this to itself and leading by example rather than putting it on somebody else, a burden somewhere else.
The smoking ban is addressed in the second question on this video provided by KWCH: