Virginians may breathe a little easier

The proposed statewide “public” smoking ban I wrote about recently failed to muster any support in the Virginia House of Delegates. This is hardly a surprise, but it’s still good news for property rights in the commonwealth. Worth noting are a pair of quotes. The first offers what should be the end of this debate everywhere it’s occurring in America:

“The problem is, I want to have smoke-free restaurants and businesses. But in America, you don’t pass a law to tell a private business owner who is paying rent or mortgage payments what he can and can’t do in his own place,” said Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax).

I wish Virginia’s Republicans practiced that throughout the spectrum of potential business activities, but every little bit of retreat from insanity is welcome. Unfortunately, the debate includes a few politicians suffering a shortage of brain power. Our politicians can barely wait to trample on our rights established by both the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution, but this bill’s sponsor wants us to respect his rights. Consider:

“The bottom line is that we’re not talking about a smoker’s right to smoke indoors,” said Sen. J. Brandon Bell II. “We’re talking about my right not to breath in 4,000 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens that are associated with secondhand smoke.”

Admittedly, if someone is going to ignore rights established in a Constitution so that his agenda can be furthered, it’s not a giant leap to expect new rights to appear which allow him to trample on the rights he dislikes. That doesn’t make it any less objectionable.