News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Micciche
For Immediate Release: July 18, 2018

Bill Ensuring Clean Air in the Workplace Becomes Law

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ANCHORAGE – A bill to protect Alaskans from the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace was signed into law this week by Gov. Bill Walker.

SB 63, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) and widely-supported by conservatives and progressives alike, establishes statewide smoke-free workplace rules for businesses and public places.

“The intention behind this bill is not to negatively impact the rights of smokers,” said Sen. Micciche. “It is a bill best represented by the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said, ‘the right to swing your fist ends where another man’s nose begins.’ We’re simply asking people to take it outside and take personal responsibility to protect every working Alaskan and their right to breath smoke-free air in the workplace.”

Current law prohibits smoking in the workplace in many areas of the state including healthcare facilities, schools, childcare facilities and public meeting rooms in government buildings. More than half of Alaskans today live in a community with smoke-free laws in place. For Alaskans residing in the remaining areas of the state, this bill will offer a uniformly applied smoke-free workplace policy.

“Two primary drivers in my support of this bill were protecting the rights of employees who choose not to smoke and the cost to the State of Alaska in the treatment of those suffering from tobacco-related illnesses, which costs millions annually,” said Sen. Micciche.

Local governments retain the authority to adopt more restrictive local provisions or opt-out by local election. Sen. Micciche is a supporter of local control and believes that the opt-out opportunity allows communities to make a difference choice if they are not in support of the statute.

“We have heard from thousands of Alaskans asking for relief in the workplace, from veterans to bar-tenders, and those already suffering from respiratory ailments that have been forced to leave their jobs,” Sen. Micciche said. “This is a light-handed regulation and it is my hope that our children will have no knowledge of what it's like to suffer the debilitating effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace.”

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 269-0147

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