Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let 'Em Breathe Smoke

OK, I understand how repetition can become boring, but this is just ridiculous. Once again a Virginia House of Delegates committee has killed a public health bill--this time protecting children--after overwhelming Senate support, without even letting the bill go to the floor for a hearing.

This time it was Sen. Ralph Northam's (D-Norfolk, a pediatric neurologist) bill that would disallow smoking in a car where children are riding. The Senate had passed the bill 30-10, but the Republican-dominated House looked out for the welfare of the tobacco barons. Pro-life my ass.

If you think this is an exercise in picking on Republicans, consider that two Senate-generated bills that were approved by the House Friday (as reported by The Roanoke Times) came from Roanoke area senators John Edwards, a Democrat, and Ralph Smith, a Republican. Smith's bill would require that children K-12 be instructed in the benefits of marriage, in essence the state taking over the role of parent. Edwards' bill would protect the citizens of Virginia from the toxins in coal fly ash, a role the state should have. Public health vs. one man's morality. It's a simple matter of priority. Not to mention good sense.

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