Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Overbearing, Onerous, Over-regulatory beat goes on.

Today, the House Education committee is debating HB 4087. (see www.michiganvotes.org)

This bill would prohibit smoking in college dorms. I do not smoke. I have no use for cigarette smoke. But I would ask, is this really what the Legislature should be involved in? Universities have governing boards, which according to the state constitution, are AUTONOMOUS. I used to serve on the House Higher Education Appropriations Committe. One thing I had burned into my brain by the university leaders was that they are autonomous. They like getting our money (nearly $2 billion) but they do not want to be told how to run their school and have constitutional protection from being told by the legislature how to spend your money.

Fact is, smoking is a legal activity, and university boards should be able to make decisions like this on their own. I would suspect that if a given university were to ban smoking on campus and the legislature tried to overturn that decision, we would hear howls of complaint from the university board about how we are overstepping our bounds and sticking our noses into their business.

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