Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Here are some stark realities.
On Wednesday, the state Senate will approve a statewide smoking ban.
On Wednesday, the state Assembly will also approve a statewide smoking ban.
Soon after, Governor Doyle will sign the bill into law.
Down the road, businesses will close as a result of this ban.
And to the chagrin of the anti-smoking zealots, smokers will not dump their dirty, albeit legal habit. They will continue to smoke. They just won’t do it at Mom and Pop’s Corner Bar (who will be forced to shut down).
Last week, the perfectly orchestrated parade of hand wringers organized by legislative Democrats put on a show before the state Senate Health Committee’s hastily called public hearing on the smoking ban. The Democrats, and this is the way they govern, kept the hearing a secret as long as they legally could so they could, behind the scenes, rally the anti-smoking troops.
Then, one by one, they sat down at the microphone.
Thank you, thank you, oh, thank you, dear God, Mr. Chairman for having this hearing.
My uncle died of lung cancer.
This relative died too young.
A friend of mine died.
Over and over and over and over (by a 5-1 margin over smoking ban opponents) again.
Was every story sad?
No one is unsympathetic to the dreaded devil, cancer.
How are these deaths caused by what happens at the friendly neighborhood tavern at the end of the block? Why is it the fault of the guy who has run a legitimate establishment for 25, 30, 40 years?
Seriously, folks. Use your heads. What do you think is going on inside that tavern or a restaurant’s bar? Was there ever a case where a person allergic to tobacco smoke or a person who hated second hand smoke was ever dragged kicking and screaming against his or her own will inside a smoke-filled bar or restaurant?
Answer me this. Could anyone annoyed by smoke at any time leave the premises at their own free will?
I’ll give those who testified last week with crying towels in hand this much. They carried a lot more weight than one of the last individuals to speak before the committee. She was a 20-something from, where else, Madison, who lamented the fact that, oh my goodness woe is me, she had nowhere to party on the weekend because she just hates smoke.
The committee chair, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) seemed to relish his role of being in charge asking the Wisconsin equivalent of a Valley girl such pressing questions as, what kind of music do you like when you go out to the bars?
Not to worry, anti-smoking zealots. You’ll get your smoking ban. And many good, decent, hard-working taxpayers will be out of work, just so you can feel good. Meanwhile, you will have made no dent at all in the number of people who smoke. They'll just keep puffing away..
Here’s my question to the anti-smoking crowd: Will you show the same outpouring of emotion and support for the innocent people you’re tossing onto the unemployment line? What kind of sympathy and help will you offer them now, you caring, compassionate bunch?
I’m not holding my smoke-free breath.