Olson channels PP (and PP's commenters) to offer this justification for his stand against "'Big Brother/Government' dictating social policy through law":
I understand the implications and medical rationale against smoking. I have heard the second hand smoke arguments and I understand that people feel strongly about this issue. I also feel strongly and will not vote against the rights of individual business owners and tell them how to run their businesses. What is next? Will we have a scale and a tape measurer at McDonalds that tells people they are too short, too fat and their cholesterol is too high to have a Big Mac? It is the same baseline argument. High Cholesterol has an adverse impact on a person’s well being and if they are hospitalized and can’t afford their medical bills, we the tax payers are saddled with their debt. Think about it, where does it stop? [State Senator Russell Olson, legislative update, 2009.02.22]
Boy, and people say I get a little hyperbolic in my arguments.
I love Big Macs. I recognize that Big Macs and cigarettes both have health impacts that arguably increase health care costs for society. However, Senator Olson's worthy effort at analogy and slippery slope misses the point. Cigarettes have an immediate external impact beyond their users that Big Macs do not: second-hand smoke. If you and I go to McDonalds and sit at adjoining tables, you can enjoy your salad and McChicken while I snarf my Mac, no impact. If I come over to your table and try to shove some chewed-up burger in your mouth, you can probably have Officer Big Mac arrest me for assault.
Yet for the sake of a little extra profit for his restaurant buddies (oh wait, no one smokes at the Madison Dairy Queen, and they've been making money for decades), Senator Olson will continue to permit smokers to fill my lungs with their noxious offal in public places.
Reps. Lange and Fargen recognize the obvious difference between a burger (even a big greasy one) and a cigarette. The Feb. 3 Senate vote on the smoking ban was close; flip just one vote—Russ—and it passes.
Senator Olson's number again:
|Home Address |
6098 Dakota Avenue
Madison, SD 57042
| Capitol Address |
920 W. Sioux Avenue
| Phone Numbers |
| Other Contact Information|
Email Contact Senator Russell Olson