WHELAN SNUFFS OUT OWN EFFORTS ON SMOKING BAN

Assemblyman Jim Whelan?s contradictory positions on extending the ban on smoking to the casino floors are the reason he can?t get the votes to pass his bill, according Keith A. Davis, Atlantic County Republican Chairman.

?No wonder Whelan can?t drum up enough votes for his bill,? said Davis. ?He has eroded any credibility with his own colleagues by flip-flopping on whether to have a complete ban on smoking or just a partial one. In the meantime, the health of casino workers continues to suffer.?

Whelan earlier has said his bill to ban smoking on the casino floor ?doesn?t have the votes.? After reviewing Whelan?s public statements over the previous year, Davis understands why Whelan has lost support for his own bill.

? In January of 2006, Whelan said of extending the smoking ban, ?It?s only fair to apply the ban across the board.?

? In February of 2006, Whelan boasted that a complete ban for casinos would be approved by the Legislature by the end of the year.

? Then in June of 2006, Whelan back peddled from his original bill, by saying he intended to introduce another bill which would continue to allow smoking on the casino floor. ?We are trying to come up with a number [the amount of casino floor space set aside for smokers] that goes beyond sticking the smokers in an enclosed small room and gives the casinos enough space to play with,? Whelan said.

* But in July of 2006, after a Surgeon General report was released discussing the harmful effects of second hand smoke, Whelan resorted once again to a complete ban and said that ?separate smoking areas are not effective?.

? Whelan must have forgotten about the Surgeon General?s report because last month Whelan expressed support for the Atlantic City Council plan to allow smoking on some areas of the casino floor and wanted to give the plan ?an opportunity to work.?

?How does Whelan go from guaranteeing that his bill to accomplish a complete ban will pass the Legislature in a year to abandoning the legislative process in favor of a local ordinance which compromises the health and safety of casino workers?? said Davis.

?Is Whelan working on a complete ban or not?? said Davis. ?What is he asking his fellow Assembly members to support? If Whelan doesn?t know what he wants, the rest of the Legislature isn?t going to commit voting one way or another.

?Another day, another reason why Jim Whelan is ineffective as a legislator,? said Davis.

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