The ink on the statewide smoking ban is barely dry, and already there's an attempt to alter it. State Representative Gary Sherman wants to restore the right of Wisconsin innkeepers to offer smoking rooms , and says the ban on hotel and motel smoking is bound to be broken, anyway.
"If you're a consumer of a hotel room and you don't smoke, and if like me you're very sensitive to smoke, you need to know whether the last person in that room had smoked or not," says Sherman. "Without the designation of smoking rooms, there's nothing to keep people from smoking. They're just going to do it."
Then there's the impact on tourism for towns like Hurley in Sherman's district. "Competing hotels are less than a mile away," says Sherman. "There's absolutely no reason for tourists to stay at a hotel in Hurley, when all they have to do is drive over to Ironwood, Michigan. Hurley has one industry right now, and that's tourism." Michigan is the only state bordering Wisconsin without a statewide smoking ban.
The exemption for innkeepers didn't make it into the final smoking ban because the Tavern League said it would be a deal breaker. "In both houses, this exemption had the votes to pass, and only the threat of it being a deal breaker, kept it from passing," notes Sherman. "We were one vote over in our house, one vote over in the Senate, votes had to be changed to keep from blowing the whole thing up."