LANSING, MI -- A coalition of 500 small bar owners calling themselves Protect Private Property Rights in Michigan said its members have begun banning state lawmakers from their locations to protest Michigan's statewide smoking ban. The PPPRM lawmaker bar ban officially started on Sept. 1.
The group is furnishing member bars with photos of local state officials so they can recognize the politicians and deny them entry. Member bars are also posting signs that say "No politicians since Sept. 1."
The coalition said the ban has devastated location traffic, resulting in job and revenue losses. The group estimates $200,000 in losses this year. State officials estimated the smoking ban has also cost Michigan $80 million in lost lottery ticket sales since its implementation. The ban took effect in bars and taverns on May 1, 2010.
PPPRM executive director Stephen Mace said the group is not pro-tobacco, but is rather an advocate of private property rights.
As a courtesy, Michigan's governor, lieutenant governor, House speaker and Senate majority leader will still be permitted to enter the taverns, Mace said.