With Champaign becoming the latest Illinois city to consider a smoking ban, U. S. Senator Dick Durbin has weighed in sending this letter to the Champaign City Council endorsing the ban. Additionally, WCIA-TV last night had video of Durbin speaking out on the issue.
Durbin has been criticized by some Champaign smoking ban opponents who claim to think Durbin should stay out of what they see as a strictly local issue. In truth, I think they are just upset that Durbin’s intervention may hurt their cause.
Durbin lending his voice to the idea of a smoking ban is a good thing as far as I’m concerned but I do have one question: Did Durbin send the Springfield City Council a similar letter when the smoking ban was being debated here? If he did, I missed it and I followed the smoking ban story here pretty closely. I don’t remember any media account of such a thing. Maybe he’s just now getting on board hoping to gain political points riding the tide of a winning issue. Whatever the reason, it would have been nice to have had him speak up here in Springfield, you know, HIS HOME TOWN. I hardly think he would have been criticized for meddling in local affairs here.
I’m glad Durbin supports the local smoking bans but I would like him to get behind a statewide ban as well. Rather than enacting hundreds of local bans with differing rules, I’d like to see any ban apply everywhere in the state, similar to what California and other states have very successfully implemented.
Update: Someone writing anonymously in comments says Durbin did write a letter of support for the Springfield ban that was published in the SJ-R on October 19th of last year. See the comment for the full text.